By Hollie Rapello
Instagram Direct was unveiled to the world today via a live stream video press conference in New York. Instagram compared it to the way people of olden times (like ten years ago?) got out an old shoebox and shared pictures with family and friends. Some of the new features include:
- Ability to send pictures and videos directly to another user
- Icon showing whether or not someone has viewed the video you sent
- Ability to send a picture or video to as many as 15 people at once
- Control over your inbox—only people you follow can send a pic/video to your inbox
- Easy access from your general feed with a “direct” icon at the top of the screen you can easily navigate
- Real time likes, views and chats
Instagram is already a hit with moms. What mom doesn’t enjoy making her already cute kid look angelic with just the right Instagram filter? Not to mention its remarkable wrinkle-reducing qualities and ability to make that spider web photo your kid took look like it jumped from the pages of National Geographic. My kids even have their favorite filter—“Kelvin,” naturally.
So, how will moms take to the new Instagram? I predict it will be a success. Instagram was very smart not to mess with a good thing, leaving all of the basic navigation tools in place, so when you download the new version you won’t be in for any kind of shock. The new “direct” features are seemingly easy to navigate and don’t get in the way of the photo-taking ease that make this network so easy and fun for moms (and kids) to use. I like the new Twitter-esque ability to send a picture directly to someone, and having the ability to see when someone actually views it opens up a new level of usefulness for the network.
CEO Kevin Systrom used this for an example: He took a picture of his pet dog and sent it to his significant other with a caption something like, “Will you bring home my favorite treat?” Of course Kevin’s partner replied very quickly asking, “What flavor?” Upon seeing this, a whole new world of Instagram usefulness opened up before me. I imagined replacing Kevin’s dog with a cute picture of my kids and the caption, “Daddy, can you please come off the golf course and pick up a bucket of chicken on the way home because Mommy is too busy taking Instagram pictures to cook?” Of course, my thoughts turned dark at the thought of that new gadget icon showing when someone has actually looked at the picture lighting up hours later after 18 holes. Oh well, I still think it will work for some moms.
Bottom line, although these changes are largely geared toward attracting teens and keeping the cool factor at Instagram as Snapchat gains in popularity, I believe moms will readily adopt them. My main concern going into the press conference was that this could be a Yahoo! Mail-type change that would take away the ease of use Instagram offers. However, it appears that the new direct features don’t interfere with the simplicity of Instagram that moms love and will actually up engagement on the network. What do you think?