Meta clearly sees TikTok as a dangerous competitor, with Instagram releasing more updates to remix photos as a video, and any new video posted will become a Reel, which is its TikTok-inspired video feature on iOS and Android.
On a blog post (opens in new tab)Instagram explains how it’s expanding its remix feature to include reaction videos, so the app records you reacting to a video all at once, or the templates will give you an idea of what you want to post next.
However, the big update of this is that any new video will be posted as a reel, which has confused users – myself included.
For someone who uses Instagram daily, I’m not interested in using the Reels section for every video, which is why this seems like a misstep to me.
Recovering from the new changes
I’ve been using Instagram since 2011, since the app had filters that made your photos look like they were taken with a Polaroid camera, and I’ve enjoyed using it ever since.
However, since it was bought by Facebook – now Meta – in April 2012, there has been a steady shift towards introducing features directly inspired by other social apps, such as Snapchat Stories or TikTok Reels. It was distracting to see these features introduced as I just want to see pictures, and this is before NFTs are about to be made available on the platform.
However, I scroll through Stories on Instagram and come across three batches of ads next to each other, or I have a layout in my home feed that alternates between images, reels, ads, and countless recommendations to follow spam accounts.
I put up with these updates because I like the content posted on Instagram – there’s something different that users show there compared to other apps like Snapchat, and I found Instagram Stories fun. It’s also great to see the chronological feed come back, I feel like I’m not alone in why I’m still on Instagram. But video appears to be the next frontier the company wants to take on and lead, and it already feels like the wrong approach.
Making every video a Reel already gives me the impression that he wants to force users to feed TikTok-inspired videos, regardless of what the videos contain. It also takes away the control users have, whether they just want to post a video normally or as a Reel.
It feels forced, it feels like a decision made by a team that is not involved with Instagram, but most of all, it feels like the wrong decision of an app that has always been defined by photos, not video.
Hopefully there will be a reversal of that decision as it could do more harm than good for users who just want to see more filters and features to use in their stories and photos.