Instagram hasn’t completed its transformation into Snapchat. Here’s why
Image: vicky leta/mashable
Instagram is compiling Instagram posts based on location. Sounds like it’s copying Snapchat Our Stories, right?
Well, it would be, if it were putting any editorial judgment into what’s being created and if the content shared on Instagram was actually enjoyable to watch.
Instead, Instagram is simply letting algorithms do its bidding by compiling posts from user’s publicly-shared Instagram Stories into a slideshow based on the location tag, TechCrunch reported Tuesday.
While TechCrunch may refer to this move by Instagram as an "exciting moment," I look at it and say, "Nice try." TechCrunch also wrote "As of today, Instagram has copied that last major Snapchat Stories feature," which is just blatantly false because Snapchat has something we like to have in the journalism industry: editors.
This is a detail that is key to why Snapchat and Instagram remain two very different platforms. Facebook, which owns Instagram, is now famous for its rejection of a human touch on any of its feeds. Snapchat is the opposite, having embraced editors since its early days.
That isn’t to say Snapchat doesn’t also rely on algorithmic-based feeds. One of the app’s latest releases, tucked within the Search bar, is Stories that are also based on location or based on what is in the photo.
These Snapchat Stories are not curated by a human. They rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence to scan what is in the image or video. For example, my "Top Stories" are "NYU Graduation, "National Piercing Day," and "FDU Graduation."
And these algorithmic-based Stories on Snapchat are pretty cool. I can tap into NYU Graduation and see footage from the orchestra and snaps taken from the audience.
So on Instagram, users now will be able to go to the location tag for "New York University" or for "Times Square" and see an algorithmically-selected feed of what was recently shared on Instagram Stories. I would let you know what’s on those right now, but I cannot because Instagram is currently down.
But back to the kicker of TechCrunch’s story: "As of today, Instagram has copied that last major Snapchat Stories feature."
Again, Instagram has not — yet.
One of the beauties of Snapchat is the curation they do in their Our Stories product. They give the product an editor’s touch so that the narrative of location-based or thematic-based Stories are crafted to tell a story.
A story to Snapchat is not just a compilation of photos and videos. A story to Snapchat has a beginning, a middle, and an end — just like what you may have watched on election night or in Baghdad.
Until Instagram and Facebook, for that matter, decides to place an editorial touch on their storytelling, they haven’t completed the transformation into Snapchat.