In 2013, Snapchat introduced perhaps its best feature: Stories. The idea was that users could create a collection of photos and video that had a lifespan of 24 hours. After that, the story was gone, finished. It was a raw and thrilling feature and is largely responsible for changing the platform’s perception as a sexting paradise.
Now, Instagram is seeing the value in disappearing content, introducing an update that’s almost verbatim of Snapchat’s Stories. In short, Instagram Stories allows users to create an ongoing stream of photos and video, which, as you may have guessed, have a lifespan of 24 hours. The basic premise is right out of Snapchat’s playbook though there are a few differences.
For one, you can set exactly who sees your Instagram story. If your account is private, only people who you’ve authorized to follow you can see your story; if you don’t want a follower to see a particular story, like your boss, you can hide it from that person. Instagram says you can even choose to feature a particular part of your story by posting it on your profile. Otherwise, stories won’t show up in your personal grid; once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Like Snapchat, when a picture or video is added to your Instagram story, it can be outfitted with things like emoji, text, and drawings. Pretty standard for a lot of messaging platforms. Unlike Instagram’s normal feed, you can’t like or comment on a story; instead, the service encourages users to utilize the direct messages feature.
With 300 million daily users, this is surely Instagram’s way of getting people to be more active on the platform—and steal traffic away from Snapchat. If everything can be done within a single app, why juggle between two?
Check out the video above to see the new feature in action. Instagram Stories will roll out over the next few weeks for iOS and Android.