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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Share Instagram Stories via Direct Message

Instagram:

Starting today, you can share stories with your friends in Direct.

This is a meaningful update. Stories sucked a lot of the activity out of the feed. Being able to share Stories you find – whether they are about a place, event, an interest, a celebrity, or from a friend – means that a lot more eyeballs can be pushed around the network. In other words, a Story can now “go viral” within Instagram (and, rumor has it, soon on Facebook).

Of any of the social platforms I miss Instagram the most.

Multiple photos and videos in a single post on Instagram

Instagram:

With this update, you no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember. Now, you can combine up to 10 photos and videos in one post and swipe through to see them all.

Fantastic update and finally one that is different than most, if not all, other platforms.

Live streaming video, by the numbers

Dan Kimbrough:

Facebook makes sense as the leader. More people use Facebook than YouTube. And by that, I mean we consume a lot on YouTube, most of its traffic is viewing videos, not creating. I think that most companies and influencers have a big enough audience that they can stream anywhere and their followers will…follow.

Facebook should be able to hold this top spot for some time. Their live video platform is easy to use and very, very good. Couple that with the massive audience and they have the killer live video product for a while. Also, a little birdie told me to expect Instagram-like Stories coming to Facebook soon as they are already testing this in smaller European regions. If they do that “Stories” video is going to go through the roof.

YouTube, on the other hand, is still only dabbling with live video. It seems they care more about live video for events than pushing live video from users. I’m sure this is a conscious choice. Perhaps, they’d prefer their live video to be of higher quality when they promote it. However, I just recently noticed their app has a tab (not a navigation item) for live video. I used it to watch to a few “radio” stations and someone playing a game. It was a very good experience. If, like Facebook, YouTube added that navigation item (and allowed directly sharing through Facebook and Twitter) I’d bet their numbers would sky rocket.

Dan also mentions the absence of Instagram Stories in the numbers:

Another note, I’d of thought Instagram would at least make the chart, but it’s live functions are only two and half months old. I think that they have the potential to move into third place, maybe even second.

He’s right (as always). The charts in Dan’s post are from polls conducted in November 2016. Instagram Stories hadn’t even existed yet (can you believe that?). EDIT: Instagram Stories launched in August 2016. It was Instagram Stories w/ Live video that came later. Thanks Leni. END EDIT. Already Instagram is crushing Snapchat so I expect the live video numbers to be also representative of that. By the time these polls are conducted again I’d expect Instagram Stories to rank very highly.

Another thing to note is that Twitter’s Live Video numbers are skewed slightly due to the fact that the feature for users is only available through Periscope and not yet a first-class citizen. Their live streaming video numbers — aside from Periscope — are likely due to their deals with large broadcast organizations and the NFL. If Twitter opens up live streaming video to users I’d also expect their numbers to climb. Historically Twitter hasn’t been very good at running separate brands so I think to do this they should bring Periscope into Twitter.

It is good to keep an eye on these trends as viewership shifts back and forth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the numbers overlap somewhat but I’d love to see some statistics on how many separate and distinct live streaming video platforms users are getting their content from.

This post edited on February 15, 2017.

Josh Ginter on Instagram pressure

Josh Ginter re: my Instagram pressure post:

I tried to fix this by unfollowing just about everyone I know personally and following as many talented photographers as I could find. The result of that decision: enormous inspiration to get out of the house and travel, but also to a confidence-shattering reflection on my own photos. Now, instead of posting what I thought was one of my best photos, I opt to hold back because it doesn’t measure up.

His example of how his neighbor’s photo of their morning coffee garners more likes than his carefully curated vacation photo is also another type of pressure or anxiety that can come from using networks like Instagram. It is why I hate “likes”. I’ve always hated likes. When I post to Instagram I turn off commenting (same for my blog). If I could turn off likes too I would.  “Likes” create a false sense of value. I’m still struggling with whether or not I want to be pulling the “likes” and “shares” back to my blog from Twitter and Facebook like I have been using the Indieweb Backfeed. I have it on right now but I’m considering turning it off. I may also turn off POSSE soon but I fear my audience will shrink substantially. This is a topic for another post.

If I could turn off commenting on Facebook I would. It isn’t because I don’t want to read people’s comments, on the contrary, I want quality comments (like the one I’m linking to from Josh right now or the one from Chris Aldrich on this same topic). Open network discussion hasn’t fostered quality discourse.

One other note about Instagram and “likes”; their feed algorithm is wreaking havoc with people’s expectations when posting to the service. People that used to get 10,000 likes per photo are now getting very disparate results. One will get a few thousand, the next 10 thousand, some nearly zero. The algorithm is choosing which photos get popped into people’s feed. Some photos are never seen by your followers. So if you were valuing your work based on “likes” you no longer can. And if you think this isn’t a problem imagine someone that makes their living based on having 7M Instagram followers that suddenly cannot guarantee their sponsors any metric at all.

I think this is why I like Instagram Stories so much. When I post to stories I see exactly who viewed each post (good) and if someone wants to reply their reply comes to me privately (also good). The drawback, however, is that the discourse that happens in private isn’t of any value to the public. I’m not sure how to fix that without reintroducing the issues we see on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Chris Aldrich on Instagram pressure

Chris Aldrich:

While in some sense I do miss the beautiful Instagram feeds of yore when it was mostly professionals, it’s more interesting now with friends who use it to capture small snippets of their lives.

It seems he has had the opposite experience to the one I mentioned in my previous post; that it started out with unprofessional, filtered, photographs and has now become a network full of professionally edited photos and videos. Interesting.

Instagram pressure

Kevin Weil, Instagram’s head of product, within a piece by Kurt Wagner for Recode regarding Instagram:

“It became a place where people kept raising the bar on themselves in terms of the quality of what they had to achieve to post,” explained Kevin Weil, Instagram’s head of product, who has been working to fix this problem since joining Instagram from Twitter in early 2016. “We didn’t want that.”

I can say I’ve felt this pressure. Amazing photographers are on Instagram and the more of them I follow the less I want to post – thinking I cannot compete.

Instagram was to be a place where anyone with a smartphone could post images that looked good because you could easily apply a filter to make your photo more appealing.

M.G. Siegler covering the yet-to-be-launched Instagram in September 2010:

More specifically, Instagram is a iPhone photo-sharing application that allows you to apply interesting filters to your photos to make them really pop. The app will be launching in the coming weeks, but as a longtime Burbn user, I’ve had the opportunity to try it out over the past few weeks. And I’m happy to report that it’s very good.

Burbn being the name of the app prior to Instagram.

I remember when people used to be called out as frauds for posting photos to Instagram that were taken with a DSLR. These days you see edited professional masterpieces.

Take a look at this video, for example, from itchban. This is a single video that was created using Adobe Premier to cut the video in half; the top is a time lapse, the bottom is slow motion. It creates a stunning effect. I really like it. But 90% of Instagram users could never pull that off – even though itchban very nicely shared this technique through their Instagram Story.

Instagram has been a tear lately. They are putting out new, and very substantial, updates very regularly. And it seems they’ve managed to decrease the pressure to create masterpieces and increase the amount of Story activity. Which, according to the above linked piece, it appears was their goal. I do fear, though, that posting photos from a smartphone to Instagram is waning rather quickly. I’m seeing so many Stories posted (which I like) but I’m seeing far less activity in the photo area.

It will be interesting to see where Instagram goes next and whether or not photo posting will still be important going forward.

The slow web and POSSE

David Mead:

This year all of my posts, replies, and retweets on Twitter will be coming from this blog and not using the Twitter app (#OwnYourData). That probably means doing it at the end of the day. I’m hoping that will make them more considered (something we may all want to be in the coming years).

I have most notifications off (and have for years). And I plan on keeping it that way.

But, I’m not doing so well on what he’s talking about in the quoted bit above. POSSE, as the indiewebbers call it, is posting on my site here and then syndicating it elsewhere. My blog posts are syndicated to Twitter the way I’d like but not Facebook or Instagram (the other two networks I use the most). And I also find myself lazily posting directly to Twitter rather than through my site because the apps are so easy to use. I wish I did better.

Here is what I would need to do to pull this off personally:

  • Post status updates, posts, audio bits, and photos to Facebook
  • Post photos to Instagram
  • Be able to retweet or quote tweet posts easily from my site (no idea how to do this)
  • Show Twitter likes, replies, retweets, quote tweets on my site
  • Show Facebook likes, replies, shares on my site
  • Show Instagram commends and likes on my site

I wouldn’t have to do all of these to be happy, but I’d at least like to push the content to those networks. Maybe I’ll start there.

Thomasz Furmanek, Kayaker, Instagrammer

I’ve been following Thomasz Furmanek on Instagram for a few years already (right around the time I got my first kayak, the Oru Kayak, which is the same one Furmanek uses).

I liked this bit in his photographic interview with Daily Mail:

The kayak enables me to travel to remote places and show people these places from a different perspective than they are used to.

I think this is one of the reasons people enjoy my photos too. I have people come up to me and say “I love your photos, please keep sharing them”. And I think it is because they are seeing places they go to and have seen (parks, recreational areas, rivers) but from a completely different angle. I will keep taking them and sharing them because I love doing it.

Regarding Furmanek’s photos, though… he’s cheating. Norway is just stunning from any angle.

Instagram’s new look

Ian Spalter, Head of Design at Instagram, on Medium:

The evolution of the community has been inspiring, and we hope that we’ve captured some of the life, creativity, and optimism people bring to Instagram every day. Our hope is that people will see this app icon as a new creative spark — something to have fun with and make their own. We’re excited for where this will take us.

The knee-jerk critiques were flying all over the place yesterday; both online and off. Obviously Ian and his team have had a lot more time with this new icon, and app design, than we have and we should allow it some time to sink in before forming any firm convictions.

My first reaction was that I loved the app design (though I feel some of its personality has been stripped like most iOS 7+ apps) and that the icon will need more time to settle in.

The one piece of context all of us on the outside are missing is what Instagram’s vision for the future is. They likely have an idea for where they’d like their community, application(s), and platform to be in the next 3 to 5 years and I’m sure this re-branding exercise plays into that. So give Instagram a year or so and then see how this new icon sits.

Either way, well done to the team at Instagram for putting something out in the world.