Snapchat is blowing past its competitors in the social media industry, and other platforms are doing whatever they can to keep pace. Instagram, in its latest development, has announced its plan to let users create photo and video montages that will disappear after 24 hours and, like the adjacent Snapchat offering, will be called Stories.
Just as they can on Snapchat, Instagram users will be able to employ Stories to tell their followers what they got up to during a single day. Stories will pop out to cover the entire screen and will be controlled by swipes. Where Instagram’s offer differs most significantly from Snapchat’s is in the degree to which its Stories can be saved. If users like one element of their Story enough, they can promote it to a full post that will not disappear after 24 hours and will instead live alongside that user’s other photos and videos.
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While Instagram’s adoption of Stories seems like a blatant attempt to ape one of Snapchat’s most popular formats, the execs who devised the new feature have offered several defenses of their decision. In an interview with Variety, Instagram head of product Kevin Weil compared Stories to the hashtag, which began as one of Twitter’s signature features before become a widespread and accepted part of social media. He also noted that the new format will give Instagram users broader options than they had before. “People want more flexibility to share the moments between their highlights,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about over-posting.”
Instagram Stories isn’t available yet, but when the feature goes live in a few week, the social media service will promote its new toy with a little help from some celebrities. It has lined up big names like Kevin Hart, PewDiePie, King Bach, and Connor Franta, all of whom will share Stories with their followers as soon as the format goes live.