Instagram launches “Stories”, a Snapchatty feature for imperfect sharing

People only post the highlights of their life on Instagram, so today the app adds its own version of “Stories” to poach goofy, off-the-cuff, everyday content from Snapchat. It works exactly like Snapchat Stories, allowing you to post 24-hour ephemeral photo and video slideshows that disappear. But since Instagram Stories appear at the top of the old feed, your followers will inevitably see them without you needing to build a new audience in a different app.

Instagram Stories is rolling out globally for iOS and Android over the next few weeks.

You could call it Snapchat for adults, a way for brands to post more without overwhelming people’s feeds, an alternative to Instagram’s Like-driven success theater, or a blatant ripoff.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wouldn’t disagree with you. When confronted about Instagram Stories being a clone of Snapchat Stories, he surprisingly admitted “They deserve all the credit”, but insisted “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.” Read my full interview with Kevin Systrom here

The Moments In Between

With 500 million monthly active users, 300 million daily actives, and now 250 million users on its Direct messaging feature, Instagram is enormous expansion for what Snapchat pioneered.

Facebook wants to own more unique, must-see original sharing that was reportedly down 15% year over year as of early 2016. But boosting sharing frequency has been hard for Instagram since people only post their most polished selfies, sunsets, and meals.

Systrom admits he hadn’t shared to Instagram at all during the six days before we met because none of the moments seemed special enough. “Instagram is a curated feed, but you only get to see the highlights” Systrom laments. Instagram’s sweat and blemish-hiding filters encouraged that social norm. And while Instagram recently started sorting its feed, people still worry that posting multiple times in a row will seem like they’re spamming their friends, so they hold back.

Stories creates a place for content that’s not “good enough” for the Instagram feed, or at least is too silly to fit in amongst the art. Since everything disappears, you don’t have to be ashamed of that awkward face or stupid joke forever the way things posted to your real Instagram profile reflect on you forever.

Systrom explains that “It basically solves a problem for all these people who want to take a ton of photos of an event or something in their lives, but want to manage what their profile looks like and not bomb feed, obviously, as that’s one of the no-nos on Instagram.”

Facebook has tried multiple times to copy Snapchat with standalone apps like Poke, Slingshot, and Instagram Bolt. No one wanted another app, and they all failed and were pulled from the stores.

But Instagram may have found a breakthrough for solving this problem. Instead of burying a Snapchat competitor in another app people don’t need, it’s put it front and center of one they use all the time. And instead of trying to be special with weird mechanics like Slingshots reply-to-reveal content, it’s cloned Snapchat Stories down to the pixel because it’s already proven to work.

How Instagram Stories Works (Deja Vu)

For a quick guide to how Instagram Stories works, check out our animated instruction manual

It’s easiest to think of Instagram Stories in terms of what’s the same and what’s different from Snapchat Stories.

The Same

  • The Stories format laces the last 24-hours of 10-second-max photos and videos you’ve shared into a slideshow you can tap to fast-forward through
  • Everything you post disappears after 1 day
  • You shoot full-screen in the app or upload things from the last 24 hours of your camera roll (recently added to Snapchat with Memories)
  • You adorn your photos with drawings, text, and emoji, and swipeable color filters
  • You can save your individual Story slides before or after posting them
  • Your followers voluntarily tap in to pull your Story and view it, instead of it being pushed into a single feed
  • People can swipe up to reply to your Stories, which are delivered through Instagram Direct private messages
  • You can see who’s viewed your Story

Different

  • Instagram Stories appear in a row at the top of the main feed instead of on a separate screen like Snapchat and are sorted by who you interact with most, not purely reverse chronological like Snapchat
  • Anyone you allow to follow you on Instagram can see your Instagram Stories though you can also block people, opposed to building a separate network on Snapchat
  • You don’t have to be following someone to view their Instagram Stories, which can be viewed from their prolfile as long as they’re public
  • You can swipe right or tap the Stories icon in the top left to open the Stories camera, opposed to Snapchat defaulting to the camera
  • You can hold the screen to pause a slideshow, or tap the left side to go back a slide, oppose to Snapchat’s time-limited, constantly progressing Stories
  • You can’t add old content to Instagram Stories unless you reimport or screenshot, while Snapchat lets you share old Memories with a white border and timestamp around them
  • Instagram offers three brush types for drawing: standard, translucent highlighter, and color-outlined neon, opposed to Snapchat’s single brush
  • Instagram offers custom color control for drawing with an easy picker as well as pre-made palettes like earth-tones or greyscale, while Snapchat custom color control is much more clumsy
  • Instagram currently lacks location filters, native selfie lens filters, stickers,  3D stickers, and speed effects but you can save content from third-party apps like Facebook-owned MSQRD and then share them
  • You can’t see who screenshotted your Instagram Story, while Snapchat warns you
  • You can’t save your whole day’s Story like on Snapchat, but you can post slides from your Story to the permanent Instagram feed

Eventually, Instagram Stories could be a goldmine, though Systrom says the company won’t focus on monetization until users love it. “I think that businesses and interest accounts, celebrities, etcetera, especially businesses, will find a tremendous use case” he tells me. “They post three times and they think to themselves ‘Aww, should we really be posting that fourth photo?’ And this just opens the floodgates on events.”

Eventually Instagram could sell ads that point users to a brand’s Story, like a clothing label with a Story from their fashion show, a politician from their rally, or a brand doing a sponosred content tie-in with a social media star. Instead of directing people to their sluggish profile, they can point them to a dynamic, urgent story.

No Likes, No Judgement

At their core, the use cases of Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories are identical: Shoot, decorate, and frequently share little clips from your life. Instagram lacks some of Snapchat’s advanced features, but it’s built where many people, especially adults, already have a social graph built.

It’s that placement of Stories atop the Instagram, a simple design choice, that could make Instagram a hit. People love to vie for attention. If you give them a new window to show off through that’s smack dab at the front of an app their friends use, vanity will kick in and people will fill that space with their face and creations.

When Instagram launched six years ago, it was a new network open to experimentation in front of friends. People were trying to learn how to make art from camera phones. But over time, Instagram evolved into a game where everyone seeks to win the most Likes and validation. And so they only share the most exciting, pretty parts of the their life, and everything else is swept under the rug.

Eventually Instagram became the core permanent profile of the mobile generation, and everything you posted had to be good enough for you to be judged by forever. Teens created fake Instagram profiles called “Finstagrams” only their closest friends could see just so they could post whatever they wanted without grubbing for Internet points.

Now Instagram is offering a different way to share with no likes, no public comments, and a lot less pressure.

The bright colored text and sloppy drawing may feel a bit out of place on Instagram at first, which is why Instagram was smart not to simply add the Stories creation tool to the main feed’s default uploader.

Some people already loyal to Snapchat might not see the need for Instagram Stories…but the screen real estate will likely be too attractive to pass up. They’ll easily be able to save and reshare their Snaps to Instagram Stories anyways. And anyone who’s dipped their toe into Snapchat and found it fun but couldn’t rebuild a following there may revel in this new playground built inside Instagram.

“We’re north of 500 million people using the product” Systrom concludes. We can either let the system evolve the way it evolves — I think that’s a great consumption business. But we want to make sure to keep the soul of what made us love it at the beginning: Share whatever I want, when I want, with who I want. The daily use case.”

IPHONE 7 RELEASE DATE AND SECRETS

No headphone jack, how will we listen to music ?

According to a tech reporter Evan Blass, the iPhone 7 will be available to pre-order on September 9th, with the public release date coming on September 16th. Exact details of what new features will be included in the latest iPhone is limited at best, but if the reported release date is to be believed we should expect a full announcement and presentation on September 7th.

The new device will most likely have a dual camera feature and will not include a traditional headphone jack.

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GIGI HADID IS A BADASS KICKBOXER IN VERSACE’S SHORT FILM

Gigi Hadid returns as the face of another Versace campaign, this time for Dylan Blue for men. The Italian fashion house presents visuals for the newly launched fragrance featuring the 21-year-old model — she’s a badass kickboxer adored, and yet unattainable by all. She stars alongside peers Ala Jouban and Trevor Signorino, as well as fighters Nic Thompson and Adam con Rothfelder among others.

“I love how Dylan Blue captures such an evocative world of Versace masculinity. I have always believed men should be strong, passionate, proud, expressive, unafraid,” Donatella Versace told WWD. But in the above short film shot by Bruce Weber, star Gigi is all of those things and more, because power knows no gender.

RIHANNA’S NEXT PUMA CREEPER REVEALED

 Bad Gal RIRI, is branching out into patterns.
Bad Gal RIRI, is branching out into patterns.

Rihanna returns with yet another PUMA-collaborated Creeper — this one is unlike any other seen before. After applying patent to her last round of pairs, the Bad Gal now presents a camo-covered version. The pattern wraps the entire leather upper marbled in black, orange and browns while gold PUMA branding accents on the side panels. The laces match the thick gum outsole as well as the leather lining inside.

No word on a release date just yet, so stay tuned here for more details.

HILARIOUS Kardashian/West And Taylor Swift Drama As Told By “Mean Girls”

“I wish we could all get along like we used to in early 2009… I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.” – Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMA after party.

— TAYLOR SWIFT

Meet Kady, Janis, and Damian. They united to take down the queen of their school.

This is the queen. Her name is Regina Swift. Oops, I mean Regina George.

Damian used to know Regina really well.

Here’s what Regina’s friend Bethany Byrd says about her:

This is Regina with her squad. They’re called the Plastics.

Here’s a pin-board from Regina’s room:

Here you can see the two having a phone conversation in which he told her about a song he had written.

But Regina claims that convo never happened.

This made Aaron and his girlfriend Kady really sad.

So Kady had to go and find the receipts.

“Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George”

10 Times Snapchat Was A Goddamn BABE!

1. When it was hilarious and beautiful and poetic, all at the same time.

2. When it made art history infinitely better.

3. And all of the captions were so goddamn on point.

4. When we could all collectively weep for this person.

5. When it hit you right in the feels.

6. Especially when it comes to food.

7. When it introduced us to this man.

8. When it brought us coincidences that were way too good.

17. And life began to imitate art.

10. When it perfectly summed up most of our love lives.

KANYE WEST CELEBRATES KIMS SNAPCHAT RECORDING SKILLS!

Some husbands get irritated by their wives constantly snapping at them — but not Kanye West.

The rapper praised Kim Kardashian’s social media skills on Wednesday night after appearing on stage at a Drake concert in Chicago.

‘All I gotta say is, I am so glad my wife has Snapchat,’ he told the uproarious crowd in his hometown.

ALL I GOTTA SAY IS, I AM SO GLAD MY WIFE HAS SNAPCHAT

— Kanye West

”Cause now y’all can know the truth,’ he added. ‘And can’t nobody talk sh*t about Ye no more!’

The crowd then emphatically joined him as he belted out the now infamous couplet from his track Famous: ‘For all my Southside n***as that know me best / I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.’

It was the lyric that kicked off the most intriguing chapter of the Kanye West V Taylor Swift feud to date; when the singer blasted the rapper for using her name in the song.

The tables swiftly turned however during the ‘#KimExplosedTaylorParty’ when the reality star shared a video of a phonecall between the two musicians in which Taylor clearly gives a very respectful and grateful Kanye her blessing — even describing their hypothetical copulation as ‘a compliment’.

 

 

She correctly predicts the media hype around the lyric, and laughs about how the ‘joke will be on them’ when she reveals she was ‘in on it the whole time’.

After the fallout, the 26-year-old claimed it was being referred as ‘that b*tch’ was her point of contention.

The pair have a long history of pop culture moments stretching back to 2009, when Kanye invaded the stage during Taylor’s MTV VMA acceptance speech for Best Female Video, telling her ‘Imma let you finish’, but insisting Beyonce should have won the award. 

AN ANONYMOUS VICTORIA’S SECRET RETOUCHER SAYS NOTHING IS REAL!

It’s no secret that the topic of retouching within the realm of fashion and entertainment has become a prominent focus of debate amongst vocal advocates against the practice. Well-known figures such as Lena Dunham have spoken out against photoshopping magazine covers numerous times. Despite the negative attention that retouching has received, however, it is still largely considered the norm within the industry. Casting an ominous light on the subject, Refinery29 recently caught up with an anonymous woman who has spent most of her career providing retouching expertise for a diverse array of brands – most noteworthy among these being Victoria’s Secret. Providing a disheartening look into the fashion industry, she outlines a deeply superficial process that puts women’s bodies through an arduous editing process. As a result, the version of the model that consumers (and young girls) see is an unrealistic ideal that is essentially unachievable.

You can read an excerpt from the conversation below and can head over to Refinery29 to read the full article.

2. Body “fixing” starts on set.
During her time with Victoria’s Secret, Sarah often worked on set, seeing all the alterations and special effects that took place long before the editing process.

“The first thing they do is they put in [hair] extensions,” says Sarah. “I don’t think I ever was on a shoot with a model that had real hair.” Next, they throw in “chicken cutlets” and other shaping pads to alter the model’s breast size and body shape. “If you hold up the bathing suit in your own hand, it’s so heavy because they have all this shit sewed into it.”

Perhaps the strangest — yet most obvious — addition is the bra. “They put a push-up bra under the bathing suit. And we retouch out the bra…a lot of [staffers] would complain because they even did it with strapless stuff. When you’re wearing a strapless bikini, in no way, shape, or form [can] you have cleavage. It’s physically impossible with the way gravity works.”

Victoria’s Secret wasn’t the only one who pulled this trick, Sarah adds; it was a routine practice. That’s why we’re used to seeing anti-gravity breasts everywhere, and why a swimsuit will never look the same on our bodies as it does on the model’s body. Because it’s barely her body anymore.

3. No one’s [insert any body part] looks like that.
Next comes the digital alteration: The bra gets taken out, and the nipples erased. Sarah was often asked to make breasts rounder, higher, perfectly symmetrical, and of course, larger (“they all have [size] A’s,” she says.)

Breasts are just one of many fixes. There are also subtle corrections we’d never notice or think would need correcting, simply because of what happens to a human body when photographed. “Everyone has blue hands and blue feet,” says Sarah. That’s just the way extremities show up in a picture. Furthermore, everyone’s armpits turn gray on camera. No matter how closely you shave, you’ll have a shadow, she says. And many of the models she worked with didn’t bother even shaving: “They come to these photo shoots and, like, they have their arms up in the classic beach pose, and they have, like, hairy armpits. They all have stubbly pubes — all the normal stuff [non-models have].”

Of course, the best “fix” here would be for brands to leave the stubble in, and for us to get used to seeing stubble. Sarah agrees wholeheartedly, but she points out that we’ve been so conditioned by these standard practices that, “collectively, we don’t even think about it.”

Another standard practice is “adding meat on their bones.” You might assume that retouchers make everyone skinnier, but in fact, “Models are thinner than you actually think they are, and we retouch them to look rounder.” Sarah routinely plumped up butts, hid protruding ribcages, and softened sharp hipbones under digital flesh. “We have to curve them out.”

H&M X KENZO COLLECTION HAS BEEN REVEALED!

THE FIRST IMAGES FROM THE UPCOMING H&M X KENZO COLLECTION HAVE BEEN REVEALED

Last year, the Balmain x H&M collab was the talk of the town, this year H&M have decided to work with Parisian house Kenzo (sub brand from Louis Vuitton) for a brand new collaboration.

As expected from Kenzo, the designs are colourful and loud. The single men’s look in the images features an olive green coat worn with a hat, bags, socks, scarf, and bottoms all in matching electric blue, green, and pink tiger stripes. The women’s look includes bodysuits in the same pattern tiger stripe pattern and a leather jacket lined with faux pink fur.

Some of the first pictures of the collaboration have been revealed, take a look for yourself below: