Instagram launched a new feature today,
“Direct,” which allows users to privately send images to each other.
Since this is a photo messaging feature, just about everyone is thinking that this is an attack on Snapchat, the hottest app for photo sharing.
Instagram Direct is probably influenced by the success of Snapchat, but I don’t think it’s going have any impact whatsoever on the success of Snapchat.
Snapchat is used for sending pointless photos that self-destruct, and sometimes have goofy drawings or text on them.
The best description I’ve heard for Snapchat came from a 15 year-old last year: “It’s a way to connect with friends when you don’t really have anything to say.”
It sounds goofy, but it makes sense, especially if you’re a Snapchat user. You can send meaningless photos that are fun and have few repercussions since they blow up after 10 seconds or less.
Instagram, with its arty filters, is a much more serious platform, largely used for people that want to have a permanent record of what they’ve done and what they’ve seen.
Instagram Direct is a way to share those photos with a select group of people.
It is not built around goofing off and sending fleeting photos. Therefore, I see it having no impact on Snapchat. They’re two different use cases.
And guess what? That’s ok!
These two companies with similar, but not same purposes can totally exist side by side.