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Instagram: A Fork in the Road

by Dan Brown | 31.01.2017

Instagram Live Stories have gone, well, live.

Following in the footsteps of Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook Live, Instagram Live now offers anyone in the world another platform to livestream their DJ set, run, make up tutorial, talk…. etc.

As NextWeb put it, Instagram is now a “one-stop service for all your social photo and video publishing needs”. While that sounds delightful in quote form, what does this actually mean for the app itself and the way people use it?

What was once a clean, aspirational experience of scrolling through a feed of carefully curated images has developed into a world of conflicting forces. You’re now greeted by a choice of viewing Live Stories, delving into your following’s pseudo live Stories or scrolling through the feed; all of which are now interspersed with ads.

There is a growing feeling amongst the Instagram community that the feed is being neglected due to people’s use of Stories. A behaviour that has shifted the tone of the Instagram experience. The platform has moved away from a focus on curated, clean and beautiful moments to that of real life; a messy array of intrigue, excitement and boredom.

While regular folk migrate from Snapchat to Instagram and begin to use Instagram as a “one stop service” it’s imperative brands adapt their strategies to continue successfully thriving on the platform. An approach that reflects the platform’s fractured state would be to segment your Instagram strategy into one with many faces; treating the feed, Stories and Live as their own separate entities. One thing that remains true with Instagram (and other social channels) is that if you create something amazing, people will come.

With the newly announced addition of Facebook Stories you can be sure that we haven’t seen the end of the debate around Live and Stories. Stories seem to be the key that unlocks the castle at the current moment in time for the different social channels, however how much live streaming plays a role in that will remain to be seen.

As JME recently said, it’s all becoming a bit similar.

“Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat Live, Stories & Filters.

Might as well merge offices & make one app.

“Chat Instaface”