If I watch a Story cross-posted from Instagram to Facebook on either of the apps, it should appear as “watched” at the back of the Stories row on the other app. Why waste my time showing me Stories I already saw? It’s been over two years since Instagram Stories launched cross-posting to Stories. Countless hours of each feature’s 500 million daily users have been squandered viewing repeats. Facebook and Messenger already synchronized the watched/unwatched state of Stories. It’s long past time that this was expanded to encompass Instagram.
I asked Facebook and Instagram if it had plans for this. A company spokesperson told me that it built cross-posting to make sharing easier to people’s different audiences on Facebook and Instagram, and it’s continuing to explore ways to simplify and improve Stories. But they gave no indication that Facebook realizes how annoying this is or that a solution is in the works. The end result if this gets fixed? Users would spend more time watching new content, more creators would feel seen, and Facebook’s choice to jam Stories in all its apps would fee less redundant and invasive. If I send a reply to a Story on one app, I’m not going to send it or something different when I see the same Story on the other app a few minutes or hours later. Repeated content leads to more passive viewing and less interactive communication with friends, despite Facebook and Instagram stressing that its this zombie consumption that’s unhealthy.
The only possible downside to changing this could be fewer Stories ad impressions if secondary viewings of peoples’ best friends’ Stories keep them watching more than new content. But prioritizing making money over the user experience is again what Mark Zuckerberg has emphasized is not Facebook’s strategy. There’s no need to belabor the point any further. Give us back our time. Stop the reruns.
TikTok has spawned countless memes formats from its creative effects, challenging Instagram for the filtered video crown. Now nearly five years after launching Boomerang, Instagram’s back-and-forth video loop maker is finally getting a big update to its own editing options. Users around the globe can now add SlowMo, “Echo” blurring, and “Duo” rapid rewind special effects to their Boomerangs, as well as trim their length. This is the biggest upgrade yet for one of mobile’s most popular video creation tools.
The effects could help keep Instagram interesting. After so many years of Boomerangs, many viewers simply skip past them in Stories after the first loop since they’re so consistent. The extra visual flare of the new effects could keep people’s attention for a few more seconds and unlock new forms of comedy. That’s critical as Instagram tries to compete with TikTok, which has tons of special effects that have spawned their own meme formats. “Starting today, people on Instagram will be able to share new SloMo, Echo and Duo Boomerang modes on Instagram” a Facebook company spokesperson tells TechCrunch. “Your Instagram camera gives you ways to express yourself and easily share what you’re doing, thinking or feeling with your friends. Boomerang is one of the most beloved camera formats and we’re excited to expand the creative ways that you can use Boomerang to turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected.”
The new Boomerang tools can be found by swiping right on Instagram to open the Stories composer, and then swiping left at the bottom of the screen’s shutter selector. After shooting a Boomerang, an infinity symbol button atop the screen reveals the alternate effects and video trimmer. Mobile researcher Jane Manchun Wong spotted Instagram prototyping new Boomerang filters and the trimmer last year. Typically, Boomerang captures one second of silent video which is then played forward and then in reverse three times to create a six second loop that can be shared or downloaded as a video. Here are the new effects you can add plus how Instagram described them to me in a statement: SlowMo – Reduces Boomerangs to half-speed so they play for two seconds in each direction instead of one second. “Slows down your Boomerang to capture each detail” Echo – Adds a motion blur effect so a translucent trail appears behind anything moving, almost like you’re drunk or tripping. “Creates a double vision effect.” Duo – Rapidly rewinds the clip to the beginning with a glitchy, digitized look. “Both speeds up and slows down your Boomerang, adding a texturized effect.” Trimming – Shorten your Boomerang with similar controls to iPhone’s camera roll or the Instagram feed video composer. “Edit the length of your Boomerang, and when it starts or ends.”
The effects aren’t entirely original. Snapchat has offered slow-motion and fast-foward video effects since just days after the original launch of Boomerang back in 2015. TikTok meanwhile provides several motion blur filters and pixelated transitions. But since these are all available with traditional video, unlike on Instagram where they’re confined to Boomerangs, there’s more creative flexibility to use the effects to hide cuts between takes or play with people’s voices. That’s won TikTok a plethora of ingenius memes that rely on these tools. Users high-five themselves using an Echo-esque feature, highlight action-packed moments or loud sounds with Duo-style glitch cuts, and conjure an army of doppelgangers behind them with infinity clones effect. Instagram Stories has instead focused on augmented reality face filters and classier tools like layout. TikTok Screenshots Hopefully we’ll see Instagram’s new editing features brought over to its main Stories and video composers. Video trimming would be especially helpful since a boring start to a Story can quickly lead viewers to skip it. Instagram has had years of domination in the social video space. But with Snapchat finally growing again and TikTok becoming a global phenomenon, Instagram must once again fight to maintain its superiority. Now approaching 10 years old, it’s at risk of becoming stale if it can’t keep giving people ways to make hastily shot phone content compelling.
Instagram is steadily closing its feature gap with Snapchat. Today, Instagram launched its first geostickers, which let users add and arrange illustrations to their Stories posts related to their locations. The first places getting city-wide and special neighborhood geostickers are New York City and Jakarta, Indonesia. These add to Instagram Stories’ existing location stickers that add… Read More
This is the strategy behind Instagram Stories. Snapchat invented a brilliant format for sharing day-to-day life: photo and video slideshows jazzed up with commentary that disappear after 24 hours so you’ll share an unpolished window into what you see. It quickly eclipsed the popularity of Snapchat’s 10-second exploding private messages, and made the app grow to 150 million daily… Read More