Instagram, let’s stop being a copycat and engage people with originals

Instagram is often seen acquiring new features for the sake of a good user experience. You are scrolling down Google News and you will find the photo-sharing app’s name in one of the news pieces telling us of a new feature it has introduced or will introduce in the future.

Like yesterday, Instagram introduced the ‘Recently Deleted’ features for users to restore the posts they probably deleted accidentally. And now, the Facebook-owned social media platform is expected to add a new feature that will change the format of Stories. You might be soon able to view Instagram Stories in a vertical format, and if you are wondering where you have seen this, it’s TikTok or any of the Indian TikTok alternatives we have seen lately.

So, the buzz is that the arguably popular app is back in the copycat race and has aped yet another TikTok feature. Besides bringing back the ghosts of the past (Instagram has copied features previously too), the question that came running to me was that how well this could improve my app experience and whether or not it is something I need while Instagramming.  Here’s what I think.

Instagram’s vertical Stories idea is copied!

To give you a gist, vertical Instagram Stories would mean that you will have to scroll up and down to view them instead of swiping left or right. This will work pretty much like the Reels section, which is yet again a knock-off of TikTok videos, which Instagram cashed in on when TikTok’s career was going downhill.

The feature was recently spotted by developer Alessandro Paluzzi. One thing worth noting is that it is still in the pipeline and can/cannot be launched.

But, if it is launched, this makes both the popular features on the app — Stories and Reels — alike and somehow makes the app unified. This can prove well for the app, but, I feel the app might appear clumsy. Instagram Stories currently is housed at the top of the feed from where you can swipe left-right to view what’s happening with people. This calls for a dedicated section within the app, which leaves the primary Instagram posts undisturbed.

However, the vertical appearance can maybe start disrupting that and make things all over the place. Only if Instagram plans to come up with a dedicated section like Reels, can this situation feel a little better to me, who is an ardent Instagrammer.

This observation is from the usage perspective and we still do not know how the feature will appear. What makes me feel weird about the upcoming possible addition is that it is not an original but a result of a poorly copied answer sheet in an exam. And Instagram is known for that. Remember the time when it copied Snapchat, launched Instagram Stories, and almost jeopardized Snapchat’s stance?

Instagram, you can do better, my friend!

To put things into perspective, the app, over the recent times, has barely innovated and just copied stuff, when we know it is capable of doing a lot more. Like, come on, the idea of a 1:1 photo/video feed was lovable when it came out almost a decade ago.

Instagram has given us a place to do a lot; virtually showcase our lives, browser through stuff, watch videos, and more, and this is what made it different from Facebook or the then-famous Orkut. It is understood that the app just took advantage of a situation and tried giving more to its users — the ability to make short videos and post them for fun. But, it can always take inspiration and produce something it can call its own instead of being a downright aper.

Personally, I love Instagram. It’s the escapism I need when I am all stressed. I love to post on the app, I love to keep updated about it. And hence, as a regular, I wish for more first-hand things, and people who are like me will agree.

The app’s capabilities also get reflected in the kind of traction and userbase it has gained over the past 10 years. The app is now one of the popular ones and there is no smartphone (I know of) without it. Hence, we wouldn’t want to turn into a mere clone of a bunch of apps coupled together and stop with all newness it can bring for us.

Having said that, I won’t judge the book by its cover, and in this case, I won’t comment on the feature until it sees the light of the day. We do hope for some originals, and hence, Instagram, stop being a copycat!

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