They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but personally, I believe most imitation is just straight up, ‘stealing somebody else’s ideas because you couldn’t think of your own.’
I scrolled through my Instagram yesterday and as it updated, I suddenly became aware of this new feature, that Instagram likes to pretend is an original one.
I get that business competes with business, and that it is vital, for the survival of a company, to do all it can to ensure that it is making enough money and that it remains successful and popular, especially in the fast-changing and growing social media world.
But Instagram, shame on you. Shame on you for taking what you know is the selling point of another company and completely ripping it off.
I remember when Snapchat first launched – I was fairly late to follow the trend because I wasn’t really sure if it was an app worth getting. However eventually, this fun, casual way of communicating started to become more and more appealing, and sharing moments of your day with your friends was exciting. Later came the updates, which made Snapchat bigger and better, with filters, stories, geotags and top news stories. It grew to become a favourite for many.
Trends come and go, social media companies rise and fall — that much we’ve known since MySpace and Facebook. But to steal a successful idea without any consequence and potentially run another business to the ground feels unacceptable.
Now, celebrities and big brands that never got onto the Snapchat train, are using Instagram to share ‘every-day, 24 hour snaps of their life’ with their followers, and Snapchat users are posting out comments like “follow me on Instagram to see my story!” or “If Instagram gets filters, is there any point of even having Snapchat anymore?” In my opinion, yes, because maybe the reason Snapchat did so well in the first place is because it’s so genuine and people are the most real with each other on there. Perhaps sending an ugly snap of yourself to a friend is exactly what we need to stay grounded. And even though Instagram may have copied their idea, I’m not sure they’ll ever be able to copy the raw authenticity that came with the introduction of a platform that promoted silliness and re-popularised the joy of laughing at yourself.
Instagram, for a long time, has been one of my favourite social media apps, as a photography lover, having a platform where I can upload photos and look back to see all the places I’ve been and people I’ve spent time with, is incredible. Snapchat rose up to become one of it’s biggest competitors, everybody knew that. But they succeeded side by side because they offered very different things.
I, of course, understand that this ‘social media news’ isn’t the end of the world, and that there are also other important things to talk about, but I think that this hits close to home for a lot of people. If you’ve ever been that kid in school, who your friend would copy, and you wouldn’t say a thing, until suddenly they got all the credit. Or if you’ve ever been in a team, and shared a winning strategy, that your team mate would later voice it as their own. Even in a boxing ring, there are rules and regulations that are followed, and rivals, in almost any and every field, fight brutally, but they fight fairly.
No matter what, I think we can all agree that when you work hard on something, it feels damn brutal for somebody to take it away for you.
Not cool, Instagram, not cool.