Social media news! This week, Instagram has officially released its newest addition: IG Reels. The feature is now implemented in Instagram’s mobile app and it is believed to be concurring with TikTok?
The functions of IG Reels:
What IG Reels offers? Well, essentially the same what is offered by TikTok. You create a short video, add some fun effects and a background sound, and there you go. Your video is ready to publish. You can create eye-compelling and creative videos without needing any editing experience or software. This makes the videos easily distributable and TikTok has proven that a large audience is attracted to that.
So Instagram, that is known for it user-friendly photo-editing tool, now mimics TikTok and adds a video-editing tool for short, engaging audiovisual content. The question is, will it succeed?
Though Instagram is among the most used social media platforms, it is suspect to some criticism. Some users are being more skeptical of Instagram’s functions and I also question Instagram’s current value compared to other social media platforms. Last week, I found a tweet that perfectly illustrated my thoughts on Instagram.
Today I was asked why my Twitter following is much higher than my IG.— Amanda Goetz (@AmandaMGoetz) August 4, 2020
My honest response? I spent the last year on unfiltered thoughts vs. filtered selfies.
I spent too much of my 20s trying to project a life image that blew up anyway. I was exhausted.
In my opinion, Instagram’s issue is as follows: Even though IG’s features might allow for creativity, I think that there is a sense persistent that Instagram only rewards a distorted, perfectionist image of the true self. Instagram is loaded with filtered, photoshopped selfie pictures of influencers and provides much less room for things such as art, photography, and creative visual design.
Additionally, despite having features for videograpghy and audiovisual content, these features are rarely used and are being overshadowed by pictures. Lastly, I think that smaller creators are overshadowed by larger Instagram accounts, whereas these small creators might actually have more interesting content to offer. Instagram’s algorithm is purely designed to show what your friends create, what popular people create, and what advertisers create.
The app has become ‘boring,’ and other platforms provide more room to truly express yourself. TikTok’s algorithm, for instance, is designed to not only show videos created by people you follow, but also to show videos created by people you do not know yet. Even if you don’t create a TikTok account, TikTok will learn about things you like to see. In result, it shows popular and not-so-popular-yet TikTockers who create content you might like. In result, TikTok also provides room for more organic exposure to smaller creators.
What will follow?
Another critique I found is that Instagram (and Facebook) yet again copy something from another social media platform. Instagram Stories is nothing more than a popular rip-off from Snapchat, Instagram TV is made to battle against Google’s YouTube and now Instagram is copying TikTok.
Yet, I am interested to see how Instagram Reels unfolds. Instagram was very succesful in lanching IG Stories as it became much more popular than Snapchat. Also, Instagram is currently effectively profiting from TikTok’s insecure future, as some TikTok creators have already moved to Instagram “just in case.”
The question is however if people will be using Instagram Reels to the same extent as they were (and are) using TikTok. Will this new feature add more creativity to the app? Will IG Reels provide smaller creators to tell their stories just like TikTok does? Time will tell.