Instagram’s latest feature calls to mind the ongoing Cola Wars for its similarities to a pre-existing Snapchat component. Coca-Cola gives the world Sprite, and Pepsi pulls Sierra Mist from their pocket.
At least the rival soda company bothered to invent a new name.
Now, users who were fans of Snapchat’s “Stories” feature can enjoy the same (seriously–exactly the same) experience on the photo/video sharing app Instagram.
But perhaps the move was less a shameless ploy for users and more a commentary and defense of the humanity of what might be remembered as the social media generation.
How Snapchat Changed the Game
The advent of the temporary image messenger Snapchat in 2011 was met with a collective wink-wink and the sort of insinuative laugh that a Parisian waiter gives when approaching a young couple in a restaurant.
Monsieur is laughing because everyone understands what’s going on where the public eye won’t reach. And everyone understands the sexual utility of a disappearing photograph.
Three years later, it became downright skeevy. At least, it did to the guttered minds of the public imagination. Snapchat introduced the world to Snapcash whereby users could send money to one another through the app’s messenger service.
In actuality, a slew of irresponsible young adults are many more times as likely to download a pragmatic finance app thanks to the incentive, but given the initial wariness of Snapchat’s primary usage most people were—and again with the French laugh—suggesting sexual solicitation for profit.
That same year, however, something peculiar happened. Snapchat announced to The Verge that the aforementioned Stories were receiving more views than private messages, or “snaps.”
Consequently, Snapchat expanded the feature to “Live Stories,” which allowed users to post pictures and videos from live, heavily-trafficked events for all Snapchat users to view.
Instagram Follows Suit (To A Tee)
As of August 2016, Instagram is capitalizing on the trend—complete with drawing features and a similar video capturing apparatus. And as all good sociologists know, trends are always indicative of something brewing in the social fabric.
Instagram users understand that a level of majesty must be maintained for the sake of the feed. There are unwritten rules about “double-posting,” or putting up more than one post in the same day.
According to Instagram’s blog post announcing their Stories feature, this is what they hoped to combat. Now, a profile can post limitlessly without compromising the traffic of their followers’ feed.
The adoption seems to have greater implications than which soda machine one chooses to approach by the storefront, and the growing frequency of live media isn’t showing any indication of going away. While this more than likely has something to do with the fact that after four years of activity, Snapchat had already surpassed Instagram’s active monthly users in the same amount of time, it is probable that something larger is at work.
Moving Into a Virtual Neighborhood
Most millennials have heard this pop statistic: If Facebook were a country it would be the most populous in the world. (It’s true. 1.39 billion people were visiting Facebook each month in 2015. That’s just ahead of the estimated headcount of China).
While the fact is cute, with more and more social media sites offering “live” settings for their users to inhabit, the information is a bit more rattling.
In a unavoidable way, the human race is moving into the “neighborhood” of virtual reality.
Facebook is wasting no time incorporating the previously purchased 360 video software, Oculus, which creates an immersive world for the viewer by allowing them to watch videos from different angles.
The question of the future won’t be whether or not you’re buying Coca-Cola or Pepsi or signing into Instagram or Snapchat. It will be whether or not you’re spending more of your time in the real world or its social media counterpart.
Snapchat Stories vs Instagram Stories [Infographic]