SnapChat Stories, Facebook Updates, … & Now YouTube Vlogs: Instagram Is More Than Just A Square Album Now

Three days ago (6/20/18), I noticed a new icon on the top-right corner of my Instagram homepage. It’s… a TV?

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Since this feature is called IGTV, I had a feeling that it’s meant for people to post long videos on the platform. And sure enough, I was right.

It’s strange for Instagram to have that feature, but not really.

For one, Instagram has been and is mostly known for its square albums and images.

When Instagram implemented SnapChat’s Story feature, the platform took on a new image as a storytelling, vlogging, and lively platform. I say “lively” because videos bring liveliness to a platform that’s full of still images. And I say “vlogging” because the Story feature is essentially a feature for people to vlog.

And for those of you who don’t know this: Facebook owns Instagram and allows user to share their Instagram pictures on Facebook and Twitter posts.

So how will IGTV be used? Why was it added to Instagram?

Since Instagram has become a popular hub for bloggers and vloggers, the IGTV will allow users to upload longer vlogs – which is something that users couldn’t really do with Instagram Stories unless they upload a series of images and clips together, or compile them in a Highlights reel.

More importantly, studies show that video content tend to attract users more than still images. (There are a lot of studies on that, so you can look those up. They’re quite interesting to read.)

What makes Instagram an interesting social media platform is how it displays and organizes graphic content.

  • Users judge other users by the content in their square albums.
  • Stories can be previewed by tapping on a user’s profile image that contains a gradient ring.
  • A user’s Stories won’t be featured on another user’s homepage unless he/she is being followed by that other user.
  • Highlights of Stories can be added to a user’s profile so that profile visitors can replay Story content that are separated into topics or categories.

Yes, there are some negative thing to say about how Instagram displays content. For instance, the replacement of chronological display with curated content based on the kind of content users interact with has been heavily criticized by users who wish to see their friends’ content displayed before the content of other more popular (and sponsored) bloggers on the platform.

But overall, Instagram’s graphic platform makes it “win” over other social media platforms.

Facebook heavily relies on textual posts, the news media, and its emergency geo-location updates to make engaging content (because the news media has pretty much taken over the platform); Twitter relies on short textual posts to make engaging content (even though they increased their character limit from 140 to 280); and SnapChat relies on their disappearing feature to make engaging content (even though they added a save feature that totally goes against how some people don’t want their posts to be permanent).

Instagram doesn’t show any text unless a user wants to view the description of a post, the comments section, or a Story post that contains text. Nowadays, people are so lazy to read text that we love to rely on images and videos to receive information. And that’s exactly why Instagram is performing so well as a social media platform – because people can quickly glance over content and decide whether or not it’s worth their time.

So, is IGTV going to replace YouTube?

No. YouTube will always be the ultimate online-TV platform because of how many YouTubers, the music industry, and the movie industry rely on the platform’s popularity and accessibility through smartphones, computers, and smart TVs. Also, YouTube is known for their landscape videos and thumbnails.

Instagram promotes the portrait orientation because of how landscape content are pixelated when they’re previewed as squares. I haven’t tried the new IGTV feature yet, but I imagine that it promotes portrait videos instead of the traditional landscape videos.

Will IGTV be made available on smart TVs?

Probably. Because Instagram now allows people to upload pre-recorded videos instead of videos that are recorded through the platform’s camera, IGTV will probably have videos recorded from high-quality cameras, and edited from video-editing software. And, since phone cameras are becoming increasingly better in quality, we can expect more quality video uploads from amateur videographers on Instagram.

What’s the future of Instagram?

Instagram will continue to promote Facebook’s existence.

Maybe Instagram will have a “square magazine” (which will be different from the Carousel feature) ūüėā.

If Instagram becomes a news media hub… well actually, it’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY that Instagram will become a news media hub like Facebook and SnapChat. Why? Again, it’s because of how Instagram’s graphic platform doesn’t really promote textual content. The news media like to provide informational descriptions with their photographs. And because of Instagram’s layout, (negative) photographs from the news media won’t really stand out among other people’s (positive and personal) travel and selfie pictures. Facebook (Instagram’s owner) has learned from their mistakes that news content is re-postable and engaging, but not exactly appealing in a positive way.

Somehow, Instagram has maintained itself as a mostly positive (and narcissistic content) for any user to easily get addicted to the platform. A lot of YouTube vloggers who make “simple” personal videos will probably migrate to Instagram because of that, while YouTubers who make videos that make more cinematic videos will most likely stay on YouTube.

Singers and talk show hosts will most likely continue to rely on YouTube because of Vevo and how YouTube’s algorithm always favors celebrities (huge paid promotions) over small content creators.

Last, but not least, WILL MORE PEOPLE GET MONETIZED ON INSTAGRAM?

Highly doubt it. Instagram won’t shut down like Vine. I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation why though.

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Dear Mr. President,…

In addition to accepting letters via postal mail, people can now send messages to the administration via Facebook Messenger.

In addition to accepting letters via postal mail, people can now send messages to the administration via Facebook Messenger.

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When Facebook users¬†click on the “Message” button in the¬†White House’s Facebook page, they will be greeted by a chatbot. After users are finished with writing their message, the chatbot will ask them for their contact information – mailing address, e-mail, and phone number – to¬†minimize spam and threatening messages.

The government has always recognized how citizens play an increasingly large role in communicating messages about public issues and campaigns. According to Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, President Obama reads 10 messages from citizens every night. He also says that U.S. presidents have been reading messages from the public ever since Thomas Jefferson started doing that.

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Someone named Jennifer holding a signed message from President Obama

To stay connected with citizens, the government has always strived to keep up with the changing technology. For instance, the White House began to accept phone calls in the 1880’s and online messages on their website¬†in 1994. What makes¬†Obama’s administration¬†unique is that they¬†dramatically improved¬†their social media communication with the public. With the success of barackobama.com¬†and the administration’s¬†presence on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook, President Obama is revered as the first president to have effectively used the Internet for successful politcal outcomes.

Although¬†President Obama’s term¬†is nearing its end, he continues to raise the bar for communications between the government and the public. Hopefully, after he leaves the office, future presidents will go leaps and bounds to better¬†listen and respond to the public.

To Like or Not to Like? Or Neither?

Facebook wants to add a “dislike” button, but how will it affect user interactions? Will people use the “like” button, “dislike” button, or neither?

During a question-and-answer session streamed live on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is working on the “dislike” button (Creative Bloq). He then went on to give an interesting explanation of why, when and how the button should be used in Facebook based on the emotional posts shared in the social media platform:

People aren’t looking for an ability to downvote other people’s posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment, right? . . . If you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events like the refugee crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it might not feel comfortable to “like” that post.

Facebook may have the goal of lessening users’ confusion on what emotions are expressed towards certain posts, but the “dislike” button may actually add more to that confusion. For instance, if someone shares a post about the Syrian refugee crisis and someone “dislikes” it, is that person disliking the refugees or the situation the refugees are in (Creative Bloq)?

The confusing functions of the “like” and “dislike” buttons can be seen on other websites, such as YouTube. One of the first things that users view underneath YouTube videos are the two buttons and the like and dislike ratio bar. The like and dislike ratio bar may display how many viewers clicked on each button and compare¬†the most popularly clicked button with the least popularly clicked button, but it does not truly give an idea of how people feel towards the video.

The most effective way for users to express themselves is through commenting on posts. In the Facebook comments section, users can express themselves much more effectively than a simple “like” button through punctuations, capitalized words, emoticons, and pictures. In fact, Facebook offers more room for expression than other websites, such as YouTube, where their comment section is only limited to text.

So, should users use the “like” and “dislike” buttons on Facebook, or ignore them and only use the comments section? Well, without the comments section on Facebook, it would be much harder to identify what users are “liking” or “disliking” in posts. Also, if Facebook puts the “like” and “dislike” buttons next to each other, users may have a better idea of whether to expect a generally “positive” or “negative” reaction in the comments section

It would be interesting to see if Facebook designed the “dislike” button to allow users to select from a list of reasons as to why they “disliked” posts (similar to the message that pops up when users click on the “flag” button). In addition to that, users should also be able to hover their cursor over the “dislike” button and see why other users clicked on that button. Until Facebook’s next big announcement regarding the “dislike”¬†button, we can only imagine that it would look and function like the “like” button.


Citation

“Facebook to Launch Dislike Button ‚Äď but It Isn’t What You Think.” Facebook to Launch Dislike Button ‚Äď but It Isn’t What You Think. Creative Blog, 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2015. <http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/facebook-dislike-button-isnt-what-you-think-91516791&gt;.