Instagram recently said they’re no longer a photo-sharing app. They’re now focusing on becoming a platform for Creators, Video content, Shopping and Messaging. Whatever all that means.
The statement however is more than confusing for all of us who joined the platform years ago. No one wants to make just a photo app? Twitter is currently winning on that front by allowing up to 4K uploads.
I don’t want to bore you with my speculations on whether or not the changes Instagram have been making are necessary, whether they risk alienating their users, and all that. That’s their problem. If they do it right, well and good. If they do it wrong, well and good! Someone somewhere will always get something right at the end of the day. And the users will flock there. Currently, TikTok is winning.
In the bid to become the next TikTok, Instagram has made lots of changes. Currently the app is weird, weird, weird. Everything has been shifted, and interacting with content (and even creating it) is no longer a walk in the park.
The company decided to move buttons from where they’ve been all through, and replace them with things no one seems to want to use. At first, I was like perhaps people will open up to the changes. I’ve not seen that happen, yet.
The circle I follow now rarely posts on the app. It could be because they don’t want to anymore, or because finding that damn Post button is not easy.
It could also be because there are now so many different types of things you can post from one app, all in one go. Confusion galore.
On Instagram, depending on who you are you can post:
- The usual single photos we knew the app for. But now in whatever orientation you feel like. In the past, you needed them to be in the square format.
- Multiple carousel photos – up to 10 pictures which users swipe through.
- Normal up-to 1-min videos that appear as the usual photos would.
- Carousel videos which are long videos a user needs to slice into small parts so that people can swipe through them as they would photos.
- IGTV videos – which are longer than a minute, and can appear on the normal timeline, but if they do, a user will need to click to watch them in full.
- Reels – which are short form TikTok like videos. They can also appear on the normal timeline, and depending on the orientation, a user will need to click to see the full aspect ratio.
- Stories – which appear on top of the timeline, and disappear after 24 hrs.
- Close Friend Stories – which are only shown to your close friends, a list you have to create first to get the option.
- Highlights – which are stories that you highlight by adding to your profile, making them stay there forever.
- Business items – These are used by businesses to post items you want to sell to the general instagram audience. These can contain a carousel of photos, and you will need to add links to your existing website, so that a user is directed to that page when buying.
Keeping up? We haven’t even talked about messaging. This is divided to three parts. Which are also divided into other parts. The main parts are:
Both Primary and General tabs are divided to another three parts: Inbox, Unread, and Flagged. While the request tabs are is divided into Top and All Requests. It’s crazy!
Not only have people like myself discovered there are messages we’ve never seen, this has also affected huge celebs.
For me, the app is annoyingly confusing. I click on something by mistake and finding my way to where I was becomes another task. Sometimes you’re watching a video and it will play although with no issues. Then there are times you will need to click to watch more. Argh. Why have so many video formats on one timeline? Why not separate them so that it makes sense? Or why not let them all play without requiring further clicks?
Why force the marketplace on my face? Why not have it on a tab somewhere where I can get it if interested?
Why make everything so damn hard?
I cannot lie that I use the app as much as I did a couple of years ago. I cannot lie that I believe this approach by the company will work out in the end. It won’t.
TikTok is already king in short-form videos. No one, not even Shorts by YouTube will beat it anytime soon. And while Instagram is banking on doing it all in one app, they will find themselves losing it all. They should go back to the drawing board, and find a better approach. Currently, everything sucks.