2016 has been a year of change. Some good. Most of it weird. For instance, we saw Brexit happen, which saw many a Brit threaten to move to Canada. We watched an Oompa Loompa run and win for President of the United States, which also saw much more an American threaten to move to Canada. We witnessed the rise and decline of Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston. Platform sneakers a la Spice Girls made a comeback and pulled collectively at our 90’s gag reflexes.
Perhaps the one good thing to come out of 2016: The Year of Everything Being Weird? Snapchat…uh, we mean, Instagram’s newest update: a complete reinvention of their photo-sharing network. AKA another tool in our social media toolbox to help you increase your brand’s amplification.
This coming on the heels of the monolithic app’s announcement in August when the visual platform revealed the addition of Instagram Stories, a move that loyal Snapchatters cried foul on (copycats! Thieves! Nothing is sacred anymore!) until they realized just how great and cool the addition was and every calmed down. Two months after this bombshell, Instagram added 3 more features . And now, Instagram is proving once more just how it is the King of the Castle for all things social and sharing with two more updates to their platform.
Though the visual platform has nothing to prove to us at this point (take our souls, you beautiful, aesthetically pleasing app, you), the app is quickly becoming the go to place for everything. This update allows users to share even more freely and in the moment than ever before with two new updates: a live video feature and disappearing videos and photos through Direct Message. And the benefits for you and your brand only continue to grow as the aforementioned King expands.
Below, our breakdown of the two newest additions to Instagram’s growing family.
With Live Video on Instagram Stories, you’ll be able to effortlessly records live footage to your stories and not only be able to see who’s watching but view comments in real time. Simply swipe right from your feed to open the camera, tap “Start Live Video”, and start sharing for up to an hour. You can also pin comments for everyone to see or turn off your comments.
Meant to be fleeting, this update allows broadcasters room to express themselves more fully, without an added pressure of having their raw videos being saved.
When your friends go live with a story, you’ll see “Live” under their profile photo in the stories bar; similarly, when you go live, your friends will get notifications so that they can tune in, just like Facebook Live. There’s a difference between the mama fish and the baby fish, though, and it lies in the ephemerality of Instagram; once you finish recording, the video disappears.
Disappearing Photos and Videos
The second feature is an upgrade to its direct messaging platform: disappearing videos and photos. That is, instead of sending just text, you’ll now be able to send friends and groups of friends your photos and videos that disappear in a matter of seconds. The update keeps regular direct messages exactly the same; merely adding a visual layer to connect you with your friends and followers in convenient, entertaining ways.
Before you say it; yes, it’s nearly identical to Snapchat. Yes, a case can be made that Instagram is trying to replicate the ways the ephemeral king of social media captures is audience. Much like Snapchat, the draw of disappearing videos and photos is that their digital history will not follow them around like the ghosts of Facebook Photos Past (early 2008 dancing in the club photos, anyone? Anyone?)
Instagram has come out and acknowledged that they drew their inspiration straight from Snapchat, adding that “it’s just like how hashtags started on Twitter and are used everywhere.” A digital adoption of the ephemeral, if you will.
To send a photo or video to a friend via direct message, you simply snap your shot, doodle to your heart’s content the way you do for an Instagram Story. You’ll have the option to send your story privately to individual friends rather than posting it to your feed. You can also make group threads under the “Create” button in the upper right hand corner of Instagram Direct.
For the average Instagram user and their celebrity cat, this means more fun ways to engage with their friends, both human and feline. For you and your brand, this means an opportunity to show your followers even more fun, behind the scenes moments that indulge in the ephemeral and create a sense of urgency for your followers to take part in your feed. The opportunities for campaigns that involve tuning into your live branded feeds? Endless.
Live videos have been rolled out to select users and will be available to everyone in the next few weeks. Direct messaging is available now.