For everyone up in arms over Instagram’s blatant copy of Snapchat and launch of “Instagram Stories,” the great Jim Jarmusch has three words for you: “nothing is original.” Think about it. Every piece of literature, every work of art, every film, took inspiration from something else. And in Instagram’s defence, it’s not about where you take an idea from; it’s about where you take an idea to.
Just like Snapchat’s story feature, Instagram Stories allow users to click on circular avatars that represent an account they follow on Instagram. Each bubble contains all the photos and videos that person has posted within the past day.
But calm down everyone. It’s actually less important that Instagram implements original ideas. What is important is that they remain authentic to their brand and vision. The question is, what will change with the addition of “Instagram Stories?” And will Instagram be able to implement the changes in an authentic fashion?
For certain, the addition of Instagram Stories marks one huge transition for the platform.
Lowering the Bar for Posting and Sharing Everything
The nature of Instagram is that users post their most glamorous and extravagant shots. It is understood that what you post will be archived, which places a higher standard on the content you post. Due to this high standard, it is common that a user only posts once a week, or once a month. Instagram believes that “Stories” will lower the bar for posting, and encourage users to post more frequently.
With the bar lowered, Instagram users can feel more comfortable posting the fun and wacky moments in their lives. However, while the outrageous content posted on Snapchat seems at home on their platform, content of the same style posted on Instagram could seem foreign and dilute the brand’s authenticity. What was once a photo app that placed an emphasis on quality posts, is now leaning towards quantity of posts.
How will Instagram remain authentic?
Instagram is already retaining authenticity by simply implementing Snapchat’s idea better and using a smoother user interface. The one complaint you hear about Snapchat, especially from older generations, is that it’s difficult to use. Instagram took that confusing experience, and made it clearer and digestible for a wide variety of people. The interface includes clearly labelled buttons, hints, and logic flows. Instead of swiping up, there is a clear “send message” button. Overall, it is an experience that is better, smoother, and more enjoyable than Snapchat. Taking an idea, and making it better in your own way, that is authenticity at its finest.
In the end, it doesn’t seem like Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom is worried about the criticism. Again taking from the words of Jim Jarmusch, he said, “don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it.” Systrom did just that, admitting that Snapchat deserves all the credit, and that what they were launching wasn’t an original idea.
For Instagram, it seems the first step to attaining authenticity is portraying honesty in their approach. This is a definite breath of fresh air in the tech community. And as long as they continue to create more enjoyable experiences than other services, it doesn’t matter where they take their ideas from.