Instagram stories seem to have been a success so far. Concerned over the dominance that Snapchat was gaining in the youth market, Instagram introduced Stories in early August this year to offer some of the same functionality. Stories in Instagram offer a temporary alternative to more regular posts, with options to overlay text or draw on top of your image or video before you post it. They are created from within the app rather than from an existing image or video clip, and each story disappears after 24 hours. Up to now any stories that you created were only visible to your existing followers, but now Instagram have added Stories to the Explore page in the app, in theory allowing anyone to find your stories.
It’s an interesting move that might change how stories are used, at least for some Instagram users. Knowing that only your own followers will see an image or video made it feel more private and personal but now it becomes another way that others might find your account. Instagram has said that the stories that appear on your own explore page will be tailored to your interests, as with the rest of the suggested videos and images on the explore page. According to Instagram, over 100 million people already visit the Explore page every day.
Instagram doesn’t yet have all of the overlay features that Snapchat does, with its integrated graphics and filters. Instagram still feels more restrained in that respect, perhaps intentionally aiming to remain more artistic in nature. There is also no option to store your own stories within the app after you’ve created them, although there is now an option to store them onto your phone. You can view them within the app, but only for 24 hours. Conversely Snapchat doesn’t offer a dedicated discovery feature, so it can be difficult to find new accounts that you might be interested in. If you tend to watch Instagram stories as much as viewing regular posts, it should now be much easier to find new accounts to follow. This latest update to Instagram is rolling out on Android today.