All posts in “instagram”

How I broke Instagram Stories

Hi, my name is Ray Wong and I have a very, very serious Instagram Stories addiction. There, I said it. Don’t judge me.

But I’m not your usual junkie. I posted so much on my IG Stories during my recent vacation in Japan that I broke it (well, sort of). And boy, was I pissed.

I had this crazy idea of my very first trip to Japan being free of social media. I wanted to visit the Land of the Rising Sun with fresh eyes, free of the pressure to post anything and really disconnect from this perverse “pics or it didn’t happen” culture we now live in.

I was on track to commit to no social media as I boarded my flight. I deleted Slack once I was seated. Twitter was next. I’ve long stopped checking Facebook (are you still on Facebook?). And I rarely post anything to Snapchat anymore; I mostly use it to message friends.

But I couldn’t delete Instagram. If I could only pick one social media platform to use forever, it’d be Instagram. I created an account on the very first day it went live in 2010 and I hope I’m there on the last day if it ever closes down.

Almost as soon as I landed in Tokyo, my Instagram Story became a torrent — and I mean that — of video clips. 

I’ve been to other Asian megacities before, but Tokyo was so different. The people, places, and sounds. It was all so infectiously wonderful. To the point where I couldn’t resist documenting it all.

I felt compelled to share, share, and share. And share, share, and share some more. 

By the end of my first real day exploring the city, I had posted over 100 video clips to Instagram Stories. You know how there are little lines on the top of a person’s story that tells you how many clips are in their IG Story? Mine weren’t lines. They were dots. Really, tiny dots.

Here’s what a typical Instagram Story looks like with about a dozen or fewer stories:

See the lines at the top?

And here’s what every day of my trip in Japan looked like:

Dots. Tiny dots.

Dots. Tiny dots.

I didn’t want these “vlogs” or memories to disappear, so I decided to save them at the end of every day so that I could watch them again later.

But when I went back to my Airbnb after an incredible first day out, my heart sank. 

I discovered all of my clips from the first 2-3 hours in Shinjuku were gone. I panicked. I thought it was a bug. It had to be!

But no, it turns out that 100 clips is the maximum number of clips that can be posted to Instagram Stories within 24 hours. Post more and it deletes the ones from earlier. I literally had to manually tap on my screen and count the number of clips Instagram Stories allowed to figure this out.

Instagram has confirmed to Mashable that 100 clips (photos or videos) is indeed the maximum number of Instagram Stories that can be posted at one time.

Sigh.

People even joked on Twitter about my Instagram Stories problem:

I lost who knows how many memories — the rawest, most genuine first thoughts on Japan and the city’s many pachinkos and arcades — but it’s OK. I’ll live.

I realize that I’m in the extreme minority where 100 clips isn’t enough (I don’t share anywhere near this much on a daily basis), but I would like to see the cap increased. It opens up the potential to some real long-form storytelling or vlogging on Instagram.

The 15 seconds people record here and there everyday adds up quickly, and at 100 clips, it can total up to about a 25 minute story. I never had a story longer than about 15 minutes, but if I were to guess, I probably had over 30 minutes worth of  video on that first day. 

I don’t know anyone who posts as much as I do to Instagram Stories, and maybe that’s a lesson in itself. Should I post less? I could, but I could also use YouTube for vlogging. YouTube’s great, but when I see how frictionless it is to string together a daily “vlog” on Instagram, it only makes me want more from the visual platform.

But maybe I’m asking for too much. The beauty to Instagram is that it’s short and to-the-point and you’re constantly browsing new content from people you know and don’t know. YouTube’s for longer videos. Instagram’s the king of short-form. Different platform for different lengths. It’d just be nice if Instagram Stories would let me record a little longer.

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PSA: Instagram polls are NOT anonymous

In the latest update for Instagram, the app rolled out a polling feature in its Snapchat clone, which allows a user to ask their followers to vote between two choices.

While polls aren’t groundbreaking on social media, (Twitter rolled out polls in 2015), there is one thing different about Instagram polls that you should probably know before you vote your heart out: They are not anonymous.

Yes, for reasons unknown, Instagram decided to make the results of the poll visible to the person who ran it, which is somewhat of a breakaway from what you would expect on an internet poll. While it’s nice to see how your followers may truly feel, you would have no idea that polls are not anonymous unless you ran one and checked for yourself. 

I found this out when I decided to run my own poll, after answering a little too honestly on a few polls earlier this week. I asked my followers if I should kick my puppy off of the good seat on the couch; some monsters even voted “yes.”

To access the page identifying your voters and their choices, simply click on the lists of users who viewed your story at the bottom of the screen. This can also show you who decided to skim past your poll without voting, like your boss. That’s right, Annie, I’m calling you out. 

A quick search on Twitter reveals that some people also found out that polls are non anon the hard way. 

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Woman Instagrams her catcallers to prove an important point

Anyone who’s experienced catcalling knows how uncomfortable the experience can be — but one woman has found a way to bring more attention to it. 

Last month, Noa Jansma, a 20 year old from Amsterdam, ran a social experiment where she takes selfies with her catcallers and exposes them on an Instagram account she created, @dearcatcallers.

Jansma explained in her first post how doing this empowers her, “By making the selfie, both the objectifier and the object are assembled in one composition. Myself, as the object standing in front of the catcallers represents the reversed power which is caused by this project.”

The fact that these men were totally willing to pose for selfies shows just how appropriate they believe their behavior is.

She captioned the photos with the inappropriate things these guys would say to her to get her attention, such as, “*honks at me 3 times with his scooter, approaches from behind and cuts off my way* ‘God bless, When I see you, all I get is wild thoughts, wild, Wild Thoughts!! Darling…'”

#dearcatcallers

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on Sep 30, 2017 at 9:49am PDT

Jansma began this project in late August and is now planning to pass on the Instagram account to other girls so they can share their catcalling experiences and showcase what she calls “a global phenomenon.” 

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Instagram Stories launches cross-posting to Facebook Stories


Facebook Stories might not be a ghost town for long. After testing in Portugal last month, TechCrunch spotted the option to syndicate your Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories appearing to US users. Now Facebook confirms this feature is officially rolling out, and everyone should have it soon if not already. The only exception is businesses, since they’re not allowed on Facebook Stories yet.

Instagram is now rolling out the ability to share Stories to Facebook Stories. [Names and profile photos redacted for privacy]

“You now have the option to share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Stories. We’re always working to make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. Facebook also told us that while you can’t do the reverse, posting Facebook Stories to Instagram Stories, it hasn’t ruled that out building that in the future.

The feature should drastically cut down on the annoyance of manually syndicating your Stories, which takes both extra time and can lead to reduced image quality as posts are saved and re-uploaded elsewhere. Stories are supposed to be raw, and created in the moment, but all that cross-posting can steal your attention from what you were doing.

Facebook has effectivally pivoted to Stories, making it the main destination for posts from Facebook Camera and its augmented reality Camera Effects platform. Today’s launch shows Facebook is doubling-down on Stories rather than retreating even though it’s been off to a bit of a slow start since its global launch in July/

This Snapchat Stories clone has been criticized as redundant, considering Facebook already had Instagram Stories, Messenger Day, and WhatsApp Status. And a daily active user count has yet to be announced for Facebook Stories, despite Instagram touting 100 million just two months after launching in August 2016. Instagram Stories now has over 250 million, just like WhatsApp Status, while Messenger day has over 70 million.

Instagram doesn’t disclose the break down of its 250 million users in terms of people who post versus those who just watch, but the roll out of the syndication feature could bring a ton of new content to Facebook Stories, which recently added viewing desktop. Instagram is also bringing Stories viewing and posting to desktop.

When Facebook Stories first rolled out, many people saw tiny view counts despite Facebook’s massive popularity. But I’ve found audiences are warming up to Facebook Stories. This week I manually shared identical sets of Stories on Facebook where I have 2800 friends and Instagram where I have 5000 followers. Yet on Facebook I received over 820 views compared to just 220 on Instagram.

That indicates that people are willing to watch Stories on Facebook…there’s just not as much content there since it’s only open to users and public figures, and its camera is more glitchy and less familiar. Meanwhile Instagram Stories’ polished composer is widely used and open to brands. So essentially, if you’re looking for viewers, there’s a big opportunity on Facebook Stories right now.

Hopefully down the line Facebook’s whole family of apps will allow easy cross-posting, so no matter whether you compose on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger, you’ll be able to share to all the networks you want with a single upload. If Facebook got really smart, it’d even understand who had watched what where, so you wouldn’t see the Story you just viewed on Facebook show up unwatched at the front of the Instagram Stories section.

The increasing audience and interoperability of Facebook’s four Stories products should worry Snapchat, which saw daily user growth plummet from a stellar 17.2% per quarter before Instagram’s clone launched last year to a soggy 4.2% in Q2 2017. Snapchat still clings to its reverse chronological feed despite the relevancy sorting Facebook offers in its News Feed and Stories making it easier to keep up with your close friends.

Facebook isn’t backing down, no matter how much it gets criticized for cloning. The company’s head of design Luke Woods spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last month, and when asked about whether he thought it was ethical to copy Snapchat, he told me “We’re putting people first. We’re focusing on the outcome, on helping them to achieve their goals, and secondarily on what form that takes.”

So even though Facebook may have to swallow its pride, if Stories are what users want, it’s going to give them to the world. And all the metrics indicate that Facebook’s users want these vertical video slideshows, no matter who invented them.