Earlier this week “Instagram Stories” was released, and the internet had a (not so) small conniption fit about how much they copied Snapchat stories. And you know what? They kind of did, only in some ways it’s better. I’m not here to tell you all of the reasons you should dislike Instagram Stories (I saw a post that said “RIP Instagram, you were fun while you lasted”), because I never feel that’s helpful, and whenever we blow up about changes we always get used to them after a week or two anyway. My philosophy is to focus on the positives of the things you cannot change, and Instagram stories is no exception.
5 Reasons to Love Instagram Stories
1. It’s all in one place
I’m guilty of jumping on a platform, telling my followers from other platforms to follow me there…. and then fizzling out on said new platform. *Cough cough* Periscope. I haven’t been on there in months! This is the reason I’ve never promoted my Snapchat to my followers – it’s only for close friends and it’s not a name I use for any other handles. I don’t want to feel obligated to be creating compelling content because I’m encouraging my followers to be there. So, I’m happily testing out Instagram stories but if I decide it isn’t working for me I can stop. And my followers will still be there following my regular feed.
2. It’s intuitive.
Especially for first time users. Sure, it takes a few minutes and some swiping around to get the gist of it, but it’s a lot easier than Snapchat. I remember having to ask my friends how to get the face lenses, and how to put an emoji on a certain part of a clip in the snap.
3. Simple design.
I know, I know, everyone is upset that Instagram doesn’t have the cool face lens filters of Snapchat, but to be honest I kind like it. My snapchat feed is typically of my dog being cute, or me just trying out all the filters. With Instagram stories I’m having fun actually attempting to tell a story by talking to the camera, or photographing something worthwhile because I can’t rely on hilarious filters and face swaps to do the work for me. I also love that there’s only the ability to make a story for all your followers (unless hidden from some). I find that when someone sends me a Snap, I wonder if it was just for me, or for everyone or if it’s also in their story and do I need to respond if I was also sent it personally? Too many questions and options take away from simplicity.
4. You can watch stories of people you don’t follow
At the top of your home feed you’ll see stories from people you follow as well as suggested popular accounts, but if you go to someone’s page and they have the rainbow circle around their profile photo you can watch their story too (with a public account). This is kind of cool because sometimes it’s fun to check out different stories now and then without committing to “adding them as a friend” the way you have to in Snapchat.
5. It’s only going to get better.
Facebook and Instagram basically own everything (including our souls) so we might as well embrace what they throw at us. I noticed that Facebook has acquired some new companies in the last year, including two computer vision/augmented reality companies, a visual effects (face-swapping) company and a spatial audio company. This can only mean one thing: watch out Snapchat. I have a feeling Instagram Stories is only going to get bigger and better!
How to Use Instagram Stories
Learn how to create and watch stories:
Start on your home newsfeed and you’ll see all the stories of people you follow and are popular or suggested to you. You’ll also always see your current story (if you have one) on the far left. You can click it to watch yours.
Use photos/videos in your camera roll:
While you’re in the camera mode for your story just swipe down and you’ll see your camera roll! I had not figured this out until my super savvy friend Jill showed me how! You can still add text or filters to the existing photo the way you would if you snapped it live. But, it only shows your camera roll from the last 24 hours! (To try and be sneaky and cheat the 24 hour rule I tried editing some photos in VSCO cam and saving to camera roll one time it worked and the other two times it didn’t show up once I was in my Instagram Story….)
Play around with the text options:
Umm, hello neon! It’s a game changer! And the different thicknesses of brushes really won me over! Plus, look at how awesome Saunders looks with laser eyes, or me recreating my favourite snapchat filter! 😉
Experiment with filters:
Okay, so they don’t have the filters that magically make your skin flawless and your teeth whiter but Snapchat was starting to give me a false sense of reality! I’m sort of enjoying the more artistic film style filters that keep it simple in Instagram stories. Oh, and to change filters swipe right while you’re in camera/story mode.
Learn who’s watching and the basic analytics:
I think it’s really awesome that there is no way to “like” or “comment” (other than sending a message about a story) on someone’s story. There’s validation in someone watching, but we don’t have to worry so much about the psychology of why someone viewed and didn’t like, etc. This also means that people can see when you watch their stories. In my opinion if you’re going to be a frequent lurker of someone’s Instagram Story you should consider following and “liking” a few pictures now and then! To get to this menu go to your story -> click on the number at the bottom or swipe up.
Well, there you have it folks! What do you love or hate about Instagram Stories? I hope you’ll share with me! And if you want to follow me (and my stories!) on instagram, you can find me at @botcomm.