In the last week, Instagram officially announced the launch of Instagram Direct which was picked up quickly by the likes of BBC. Interestingly, social networking channels keep evolving and changing. After Facebook purchased the social network, new functionalities, look and feel have been added. Now with the recent addition of Instagram Direct, users of the network are now able to actually direct message friends, by sending pictures or videos to up to 15 people. This move can be considered as very interesting, as it enables consumers to share content in private through Instagram (BBC News Technology 2013).
The new, added functionalities in Instagram seem very similar to the likes of whatsapp that enable direct instant messaging. The BBC also point out the similarities with regards to the app Snapchat, as a similar style is followed. Instagram certainly “borrowed” some key features and aspects that make other social networking and messaging apps quite popular. Instagram now enables consumers to do the following:
- send images and videos to both individuals or groups
- sender of the picture or video will be notified when content was viewed
- messages can also contain small amounts of text
The only restrictions Instagram Direct has, is the fact that images and videos can only be sent to users that already have been followed. This does limit the amount of people the content can be sent to. When Instagram became gradually popular, it was a network strongly based on images and the standard of images was much higher than on other social networks. This is still the case, as Instagram does mainly display stunning images and most of its users do spend a lot of time on creating images that look unique. For travel, this is a win win situation, as Instagram and its users can collect and create images that really do inspire other users.
With Facebook, becoming mainstream, and several generations being active users on the social network, many younger consumers are now moving to other more niche and exiting networks. Instagram is for many a more exciting app that now also enables sharing and direct messaging of content which is seen as a positive move. However, this will also mean that other social networks and app such as Snapchat might loose consumers, as these are not as interesting as others.
For tourism, the impact of Instagram’s new functions might be higher than expected. Consumers can now send images and videos directly to friends and family when on holiday, guaranteeing immediate inspiration and sharing of experiences. There is great potential, especially as many consumers seek more privacy in its daily social activities online. Networks such as Path that limit the numb rod people within the direct network are increasingly popular due to the more selectiveness and closed character of the network. Instagram Direct can now also overcome the limitations of messaging of content, as private content can be send directly to friends and followers.
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