I want to apologize in advance for what kind of rant this post might become. That being said, I am highly annoyed with Instagram. Why this time? If you’ve read any of my previous posts on Instagram vs. Snapchat, then you will know that I value unique app experiences. What does that mean? I don’t want an app that is the exactly the same as another app. Especially if you’re intentionally copying another one. If I wanted those features, I would have gone with the original app in the first place. In this case, I’m talking about how Instagram is constantly copying Snapchat. Now they are testing a standalone app for private messaging, called Direct.
Which makes it sound like Instagram is going to remove this feature from the main Instagram app. I use the direct message feature, but mostly to share posts with my friends. Not necessarily to chat with them. I use other apps, like iMessage. For me, this isn’t necessary and kind of makes me want to stop using the app altogether. Did you hear that Instagram? They probably don’t care. Interesting though, the app is only available in six countries currently – Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay. Why is that? Notice that it’s not available in the United States? That one is certainly a head scratcher, don’t you think? Also, why is this necessary anyway? Instagram is owned by Facebook. Facebook has a messaging app, called Messenger. Further, Facebook owns Whatsapp. Two extremely popular messaging tools. So this doesn’t even make any sense to me.
Right now Direct is only available as a test. Instagram’s rationale for this is kind of confusing. They suggest that private messaging can never be really great when it lives inside an app that is meant for broadcasting publicly. But why are people using this as their main messaging app? Is that what this has become? If that’s the case, I’m honestly floored as this, in my opinion, is nothing more than a quick tool that lets you communicate to your friends about a specific post. Not a full-fledged messaging app. This is what Instagram has to say about it:
We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that. Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.
This is kind of what happened in 2014 when Facebook shut off the messaging feature inside that app. Which is also around the time that I stopped using Facebook. I will give Facebook credit for that as Messenger is extremely popular. Can Instagram pull this off? Not in my opinion, they can’t. Instagram is a different kind of platform and to me this kind of feels dirty. Dirty might be a stretch, but I am struggling with how to explain just how much I don’t support this. Sorry, Instagram. Getting rid of this feature is annoying and I hope it doesn’t fare well for you.