By: Hillel Fuld
Instagram stories, Snapchat, yada yada. So much has been said about Zuck’s repetitive and systematic ripping off of Snapchat so I will not be adding to that echo chamber. Before I talk about how the launch of Instagram Stories affected my personal usage of both platforms, I would like to talk a little bit about the phenomenon of copying. It sucks. No, really. Speaking as someone who has been plagiarized and blatantly copied, it royally bites.
No, the phenomenon is not new. Microsoft copied Apple. Apple copied Xerox. Samsung copied Apple and it goes on and on. Yes, true, and to be honest, not a fan of any of those moves, however… There is, in my humble opinion, a fundamental difference between being “Inspired by an idea” like the introduction of a totally new type of smartphone with a disappearing keyboard and an app store and copying, like totally ripping off a product down to the buttons.
In Instagram’s defense, Kevin Systrom, founder of the wildly popular platform didn’t deny it. In fact, one might say he was proud of the move. Not kidding.
I don’t know about you, but the day before the launch of Instagram Stories, I was a huge fan of both the platform and its founders. The day after? A bit less. You see, Instagram was NOT the first photo sharing app out there, not even close. Having said that, from day one, Instagram did things differently. Better. Not the case anymore.
But who cares how I feel? It was a smart business move, right? I mean Snapchat is the fastest growing platform in history and Zuck offered them a few billion, an offer Evan Spiegel declined, so now, all is fair, right? Smart move from a business perspective, “ethics” aside, right? Not so sure.
Here’s the thing. I, like many millions of people around the globe, spend a lot of time on social. Social has become a necessary tool for startups and business in general, whether in terms of marketing and PR, or competitive analysis, down to sales. Social can no longer be dismissed as a luxury.
Before Instagram Stories, every network I used had its place. I used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and even Google+, each for its unique purpose and benefit. No longer. Now I literally need to generate the SAME type of storytelling content on Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Instagram no longer has a unique place in my daily workflow, it no longer has its own identity. This might sound melodramatic, but it actually is not, it has very practical consequences, I use Instagram less, much less!
It was clear to me, based on the completely insane engagement that I get on Snapchat that I would not be abandoning my audience there and since Instagram Stories wants me to do the same exact thing I am doing on Snapchat, and since despite my preexisting Instagram following, my views there are significantly lower, the decision was pretty clear. Less Instagram, more Snapchat.
To be clear, it is not like I woke up and decided no more Instagram for me, but day in, day out, I look at my content and realize that I barely did anything on Instagram Stories and have a whole lot of activity on Snapchat. It seems to me that Instagram Stories killed Instagram.
Of course, there is always an option to do different things on the two platforms and not generate the same content for both, but the problem with that is that Instagram did such a good job ripping off Snapchat that not using the two platforms the same way would require some serious creativity on my part. That means much more time on social than I was already spending, and, well, until they discover more than 24 hours in a day, that is going to present a challenge.
I realize and understand that Instagram is a significant platform, and as a marketing guy, abandoning it is just plain dumb, but for now, without literally downloading my snaps to post on Instagram Stories (considering it), I really am at a loss of how to produce valuable content on both platforms.
Open to ideas…