When we published our last blog post, discussing a huge year of change at Instagram, little did we know that one of the app's biggest releases was just hours away.
In case you haven't heard, Instagram began to roll out Stories last week. It's a new feature that lets users combine images and video, which are then turned into a reel or "story." These stories can be viewed for 24 hours and don't appear in grids or feeds.
It's not just similar to Snapchat, it's a pretty clear knock off of the clip-sharing platform, who introduced their own 10-second storytelling feature in 2013. As reported by TechCrunch's Josh Constine, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom openly admitted that Snapchat "deserve all the credit."
How to use it? Once you update your app, you'll see a series of circular avatars at the top of your IG homepage. Clips from users that you follow will be ringed with a rainbow, tap their avatar and you'll be able to watch their story. Swipe right to go to the next story and, if you want to skip, swipe left. If you want to direct message another user while viewing their story, swipe up.
Here's some great information about how to post to Stories, thanks to 9to5Mac.com.
While the video and image quality is not as polished as what you see in your profile grid, the ability to add filters, text overlays, emojis and cool neon highlighters (for giving cats laser beam vision, of course...) are fantastic additions to IG's features. As is the fact that you can post all the stories you like and they won't spam other users' feeds.
It's an audacious move, one that reminds us of the Periscope launch that swiftly signaled the demise of Meerkat. Dare we say it, it may even spell the beginning of the end for Snapchat.
One thing is for certain, in this year of transformation, we get the feeling that Instagram are not done yet.