Communication through photographs has evolved from printing your Kodaks to emailing files and from texting an image as soon as it’s taken to, most recently, sending an image directly through apps to specific people of your choice. Now, photo sharing phenomena Instagram have launched their own ‘direct’ service, reflecting similarities to Snapchat and Whatsapp. It seems direct messaging is what everyone wants nowadays, with Twitter also introducing the option to send photos through direct messaging.
For those of you who are easily confused by technology, this new service is no different to the Instagram experience you will already know. The one difference is instead of clicking ‘followers’ at the top of your screen there is now the option to click ‘direct’ next to it.
The idea of sending a personal or entertaining photo to someone that will find it equally as entertaining, compared to the rest of the world, may sound familiar. This is where the battle commences between Instagram direct and Snapchat.
However, unlike Snapchat, the image or video you send on Instagram direct will not have a time limit. People may prefer this option for the fact that they can keep the image for as long as they like and it could make for entertaining viewing in years to come. Alternatively, they might dislike the fact that the image will always be available for viewing. Hence Snapchat’s breakthrough involving sending personal photographs with viewing time limits.
Part of the fun with Snapchat is drawing on your pictures to give it that extra gag factor – a function that is not available with Instagram. This kind of hilarity is what makes people so keen to save snapchats by screen shotting them. Therefore Instagram direct could make Snapchat a thing of the past because if users are going to save the image anyway, why not just use Instagram direct and have it available to reminisce over? Although Instagram direct still allows for filters, meaning that flattering photos are more likely to take flight then comic capturing.
Privacy is always a big worry for people sending images. Whether it’s a private joke between friends and you don’t want everyone to see the silly face you’re pulling, or if it’s a drunken snap the night before you call in sick for work, these are reasons as to why these apps are becoming more popular for photo sharing than social media sites such as Facebook. For example, Instagram direct still protects your privacy; if someone who you don’t follow wants to send a direct image to you, a request is sent, which you can accept or decline. However if you send a direct image to a group of people – it can be up to 15 users – who do not follow each other they are still able to see everyone else’s comments. The sharing is in your control.
Whilst Snapchat has always been for funny or personal photos, compared to a more meaningful and memorable photo on Instagram, this could mean they both still have a place in the photo sharing world. People might not want to fill up their Instagram direct with meaningless but funny images, and vice versa, may prefer to store special images rather than have them disappear after a few seconds.
Personally, I think the quick buzz of entertainment from Snapchat will die out soon anyway, but now the biggest photo sharing app, Instagram, has its direct service, people may as well use this for all of their photographs – whether shared or private. Only time will tell whether Instagram direct marks the end for Snapchat, or whether Snapchat will create a unique upgrade.