In the newest Instagram update, the platform as we knew it has ceased to exist. Now, we are stressed, confused, and can’t find anything. Instagram is probably the most prominent of the social media copy-cat game, first having stories and disappearing messages à la snapchat, a shopping feature à la Facebook, and now Reels, which is basically a rip-off of TikTok.
To compare how social medias overlap, I made this visual. I find that common features are posting, stories, short videos (TikTok or Vine), longer videos (YouTube), Lives, and disappearing messages — a feature Snapchat is popular for.
Especially with the addition of Reels, Instagram has really stretched itself over all the categories. Current features include stories which disappear after 24 hours and posting pictures and videos. When it comes to short videos, there are Reels, which is basically uploading a TikTok to Instagram. Longer videos can be uploaded to IGTV. In addition, one can go live from their story, and you send what are like snapchats directly to the DMs. You can also choose to have photos stay in the chat or disappear after one or two viewings.
The current layout has the bottom tabs as (from left to right) your feed (accounts you follow), the discover page (the most popular Reels, IGTV posts, and things you may like based off posts you’ve liked), Reels — which used to be the ‘New Post’ tab, a shopping tab — which used to display personal account activity, and then the personal account tab. One can now make a new post by clicking the ‘+’ icon at the top left corner on both the feed tab and on the account tab. To view account activity, one must now look to the top left on the feed tab next to the ‘+’ icon.
People have been taking to Twitter to criticize the new Instagram layout and Twitter’s new story feature. ‘Fleets’ gives Twitter users an option to post something that will disappear in 24 hours from posting, à la snapchat. Platforms are really trying to piggyback off the TikTok craze — with Instagram ‘Reels’ and Snapchat’s ‘Spotlight.’ Stories have appeared on nearly every social media platform, and it seems like all are progressing towards developing a TikTok feature.
Social Media companies are trying to compete with each other by adding features that are popular on other platforms, but they were already just fine to begin with. Different features make different apps useful. I have Snapchat for the specific Snapchat features: filters, sending disappearing videos and texts, and uploading to my story. I have Instagram for sharing and looking at pictures. Having TikTok allows me to search for content that would make Vine proud. Tyler, the Creator took to his Instagram stories to complain. He called the update ‘stupid’ and called for an “option to retain a layout that’s just for pictures and friends.” Lots of users find these updates simply unnecessary. Consumers of social media have different accounts on different platforms because each has something different to offer. Instagram is trying to be a one stop shop for a market that isn’t looking for one.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Abby Padilla