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