What does Instagram Stories say about the future of social media?

Undoubtedly social media is an essential part of culture in the modern day. Its reach is continuing to grow, accessing new audiences every day, making it the perfect platform for businesses. Facebook and Twitter were the original networks that dominated the sector, and have seen many companies come and go (remember Vine?). Others have been successful in cracking the societal code and have been accepted into a part of daily routine, Instagram and Snapchat for example.

So far these multiple platforms have worked somewhat amicably even co-operating in certain situations, however, is this sustainable?

The competition was kicked up a gear when Instagram revealed their latest feature: Instagram Stories. The 24-hour photo and video sharing addition caused an uproar due to its striking similarities to Snapchat Stories. It’s not just the name which makes it comparable, but the fundamentals of the addition itself. The reveal was immediately followed by a reaction across social media, and in typical internet style memes were quickly created to mock Instagram.

The Stories feature is undeniably successful and is largely responsible for Snapchat rising to the elite rankings of social media, but surely Instagram could come up with an original idea that was just as successful without copying? If Instagram is willing to adopt Snapchats’ concept, does it show that in an attempt to stay relevant and to maintain user numbers, they are willing to risk their individuality in order to compete? It’s possible that this could be a reflection of what to expect for the future of all social media.

It’s not just Instagram and Snapchat who are in competition. Twitter has announced plans to expand on their ‘Moments’ feature, the news plans will allow users to create their own ‘stories’ to be viewed for 24 hours, sound similar? This adds Twitter into the stories collective that is appearing to be a must-have for all social media.

Another recent rising trend that can be seen across various social media is the switch to user video experiences. Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope are examples of this, both having recently introduced features that allow their audiences to create and share live videos with their friends and followers. This follows the pattern of social media constantly improving what they offer to the user, in an attempt to provide the best experience possible. However, this process has meant that all social media share common, if not all, features.

With society today is constantly looking for the next big thing and the companies are more than happy to satisfy that materialistic need, it’s inevitable that some ideas are going to cross over, but when does it stop being about the trend and become copying? If they all provide the same features is it not inevitable that they all blur into one?

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