September 2011 saw the revolution of social media, with the launch of the most innovative instant sharing platform since the Instagram launch of the year before. Snapchat invented an inspired format for sharing day-to-day life: photo and video slideshows that disappear after 24 hours so you’ll share an unpolished window into what you see.
Snapchat Stories was the landing page for all the posts that were not good enough for your carefully curated Instagram feed; their ephemeral nature gave the social media platform a definitive alternative from the permanency of Facebook and Instagram. With people sharing more and more, Stories looked like the next big social medium, and threatened to steal content and attention from Instagram. The roles were set, Facebook was where you found your family; Instagram was a show reel of your life’s best hits and Snapchat was all the real and funny stuff in between.
All this swiftly changed last week when Instagram launched their stories feature, described in their own words as ‘a new feature that lets you share your instant moments in a slideshow format, not just the ones that appear on your profile’. With this, the platform takes a great step forward in terms of offering an increasingly sophisticated video element. Just like Snapchat, Instagram Stories lets users share live content, animated with text, emojis and drawings, all of which disappears in 24 hours. Unfortunately for Snapchat, most users with an active Instagram account tend to have a similar or greater number of followers on Instagram than Snapchat, thereby instantly rendering Snapchat too inconvenient.
Both apps target millennials, and with the boom of instant everything in this age millennials will always opt for convenience over quality, as long as convenience comes packaged nicely with some new neon markers. Despite lacking geo filters, animated filters, stickers and time settings, Instagram stories is convenient and therefore it is good enough; as Instagram has demonstrated this week, good enough goes a long way when combined with network effect.