Web
Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter

Why I Love Instagram Stories (and what it means for bloggers)

Posted on 7 min read

This week, Instagram announced the launch of their new ‘Stories‘ feature, and the internet immediately freaked out about it.

At first, I dutifully joined in with the freaking-out, because it’s not often I manage to jump on board a bandwagon early enough to feel part of it, and seriously, Instagram: could you BE any more blatant in your copying of Snapchat? I feel like we should all be following you through the street, ringing a bell, and shouting, “SHAME! SHAME!” or something – it’s really THAT blatant, and also kind of cringeworthy to see such a huge platform essentially put its hands up and say, “Yeah, we’re all out of unique ideas, so we’re just gonna use someone else’s – ‘kay?”

For shame. (SHAME! SHAME!)

The whole time I was metaphorically ringing my bell (Terry took my real bell away from me, unfortunately…), and tut-tutting over it, however, there was a little part of me saying, “But Amber: you’re totally going to love this, and you know you are.” I tried to suppress that voice, but the next morning I woke up, and the first thing I did was to update Instagram on my phone, and then check it repeatedly to see if I had access to ‘Stories’ yet. And, after a few hours, I DID have access to Stories. And guys? I kind of love it.

I mean, yeah, sure, it must suck to be Snapchat right now, and there’s just no getting away from that, but at the same time, I have to admit, I’m much more likely to use this new Instagram feature: partly because I already have a following there, and it makes more sense to me to publish content to that existing audience, rather than trying to build a new one on yet another platform, but also because, as far as I can tell, this seems like a good compromise between the “staged” Instagram we have now, and the more candid Instagram of the past, which everyone seems to miss, but which no  one seems prepared to try to recover.

I include myself in that statement, by the way: I’ve done my fair share of complaining about how Instagram has chaaaaanged: about how it USED to be all about documenting your life, and sharing little behind-the-scenes snapshots, and now it’s all about “curating” the perfect feed, creating the perfect flatlay, and basically fictionalising your life, to the point where it’s barely even recognisable as YOUR life. I complain about that, but I still do it: I think we all do, and I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with that.

red hair in the sun / addicted to Instagram

To be honest, I’ve been becoming increasingly frustrated by some of the complaints I’ve been reading about Instagram (and social media in general), and how “fake” it all is. Why do people expect gritty reality from social media, after all? I know I’ve talked about this before, but I think most of us at least try to present our best selves in public – even if that just means pulling a comb through our hair before leaving the house, or giving the living room a quick tidy when we know people are coming over. I don’t visit my friends and demand to see their messy cupboards, or expect them to open the door in their PJs, so why would I expect people to air their dirty linen on social media, just to be “relatable”?

I don’t, is the short answer to that: and I’m pretty sure you don’t either, which is probably why we’ve arrived at the Instagram we have now – all themed feeds and carefully chosen photos. It’s a highlights reel rather than the story of our lives now, and once you’ve started down that road, it’s difficult to get off it. I, for instance, wrote this post, talking about how you totally don’t need to have an Instagram theme, because it ruins the spontaneity of the platform… and then, a few weeks later, I got myself an Instagram theme. D’oh. Now that I have it, I can’t quite bring myself to break it, either, because as much as I, too, miss the “good ol’ days”, where it truly was a record of people’s lives, I can’t help but notice that the flatlays and “themed” photos get more likes and comments than the “real” ones do, and if you TRULY don’t care about whether people like your content (both figuratively and literally), then you are a much better person than me, and I mean that in all sincerity.

I think Stories will help to change all of that, though. Like Snapchat, the photos and videos you upload to your “story” are only live for 24 hours: there are no comments, no “likes”, and they don’t become part of your grid – although there is the option to send individual photos to the grid if you want to. When I first started using Snapchat (which is EXACTLY the same), I found the temporary nature of it, plus the complete lack of feedback, pretty bizarre, really: as I got used to it, however, I found it really liberating to be able to post something without worrying about how many likes it would get, or whether it would look good in my “grid”… this is what makes Snapchat so interesting, I think. It’s much more real, much more spontaneous, and it’s basically like watching a reality TV show featuring your favourite bloggers, and other people you know – and who wouldn’t be interested in THAT? (If you just said that YOU wouldn’t be interested in that, I’ll just point out that you’re now 1,000 words into a blog post about Instagram Stories, so…)

ALM_0750

The problem with Snapchat, though? For me, it’s that it’s kind of hard to use. I feel stupid even saying this, but I’ve had to Google almost everything I’ve ever tried to do on Snapchat, and I STILL constantly forget how to access various features.  I only follow a handful of people there, purely because there’s no easy way to find out who’s using it (You have to know the person’s Snapchat name in order to follow them, and to find out THAT, you mostly have to just rely on them mentioning it on Twitter or something), and I’m STILL cringing over that time I accidentally sent a snap of my own face to an extremely popular fashion blogger, who now probably thinks I’m some kind of psycho stalker. This is the kind of thing I’ll be having embarrassment flashbacks about for the rest of my life, seriously: and let’s not even talk about the time I realised I’d been sending all of my snaps, not to my “story”, as I’d thought, but to one specific person. (That time was known as “last week”, and I’ll probably never get over it…)

Because of all of this, I liked Snapchat, but I hardly ever used it: most of the time I’d completely forget I even had the thing, and then I’d remember, post a series of snaps of my dog, and then promptly forget about it again. I THINK I have around 50 followers, but then again, there’s no way to know that for sure without counting them all, and who has time for THAT? On Instagram, by contrast, I have 11,000 followers: I open up the app multiple times a day, and because I’m automatically given access to the Stories of everyone I’m following, I don’t need to search for user names, or feel like I’m the only one who didn’t get invited to the party of the decade. (Actually, I still do feel like that, but that’s par for the course with me, really…) I don’t really want to like it, because it’s still basically just stealing at the end of the day, but so far I’ve been really enjoying watching everyone’s stories and creating my own – and I think I’ll like it even more once the furore dies down, and all of the stories stop being just one person after another pointing out that, hey, this is just like Snapchat! YA DON’T SAY!

Well, it IS like Snapchat… but I like it, and I think it could potentially be a bit of a game-changer for bloggers. Instagram is already huge, obviously, and, for some people, it’s become a complete replacement for blogging. Brands have been very enthusiastic about it – I now get quite a lot of requests for sponsored Instagram posts as well as blog posts – and because uploading an Instagram photo is so much easier than writing a blog post, bloggers have been quick to take advantage of that. My prediction is that Stories will encourage people to spend even more time on the platform (The day the feature launched, I ran my phone battery down twice – and I wasn’t even playing Pokemon Go that day, either!), and that will, of course, make it more valuable to sponsors. I already get quite a few people approaching me about featuring things on Snapchat, even although I hardly ever use it, and only have… however many followers I have… and I can see the same thing happening here. I like the fact that Stories allow you to get back to the original premise of Instagram – real-time documentation of your life – without worrying about flooding your followers’ timelines, or messing up your “grid”. And, yes, I’ve apparently become the kind of person who talks very seriously about her “grid”: I kind of hate myself right now, not gonna lie.

There is, however, one thing I’ll miss from Snapchat:

butterfly crown selfie

Filter? WHAT filter? No, I ACTUALLY have butterflies flying around my head all the time, like an Elven princess. Doesn’t everyone?

[P.S. If you want to see too many videos of me opening my mail, and deciding what to wear every day, you can follow my Instagram Story here.]

WANT AMBER IN YOUR INBOX?

(Er, that came out a bit weird: what I mean to say is, enter your email below to be notified each time I publish a new post...)

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 Comments
  • Anna nuttall
    August 7, 2016

    I find myself also really loving Instagram stories, just for the fact that my estranged niece watches my updates and it nice to know I can say hi to her without being to verbal about it. The problem with my niece is a long complicated story and I have problem contacting her directly just to say hi, I do miss her terribly so it nice to know she still watches over me.

  • Andrea@WellnessNotes
    August 7, 2016

    I could never really figure out Snapchat. I also didn’t try very hard. It just always seemed like one more thing to do for which I didn’t have time. I like Instagram stories because they are right there (and I was able to figure out how to use them… 😀). It’s fun seeing people’s un(less)-edited lives!

    I started reading your book and love it! When you wrote that one thing you always knew was that you are a writer, I thought: Yes. And one I LOVE to read. I usually read your blog on my phone (like now) and don’t often comment, but I so very much enjoy your writing!

  • Deva
    August 7, 2016

    Instagram should have sponsored this post. I was really annoyed by it but after reading this I’m clicking on everything trying to find Stories (updated the app and everything).

  • Joanna
    August 7, 2016

    I’ve actually found you first on Instagram and only recently started reading your blog 🙂 Now I know I’ll be coming back.

    I’m not going to lie – I unfollow people on Instagram if they post uninteresting, blurry photos. Does it mean I like to see only beautiful parts of people’s lives? Mostly, yes! That’s why I love Instagram – it provides me with inspiration, and seeing people in day-to-day situations that we all experience isn’t very interesting. I loved what you said about having guests in our homes – obviously we want them to see pretty and clean house. It’s such a good example! However, it’s nice to see how all these “perfect” people of Instagram look and live for real, so that’s why I think I may like the Stories feature (even though I haven’t tried it yet.) I’ve never had Snapchat, because I didn’t want one more platform to have to focus on, but as Stories are part of Instagram, maybe I’ll like it.

  • Nicola
    August 7, 2016

    Great post! I’ve tried to get into Snapchat a few times and I just couldn’t, although I did enjoy the filters. I probably still won’t post Instagram stories, but I’ll definitely be looking at other peoples!

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

  • Trona
    August 7, 2016

    oh God I’m so glad you said you find Snapchat difficult to use, I just dont get it BUT I’ve had a little play with Instagram stories and I think I like it. It’s much easier to use, already built into an app I use quite a lot and it just gives a little variation from the staged photos (which I love looking at btw). So it suits me.

    I’m seeing a lot of people complaining about Instagram lately, that their engagements drops etc. Well I am actually really loving it at the moment. It just means you actually have to put a bit more effort in for the “rewards”, their algorithm works brilliantly for me, I find so many new and inspiring accounts on there. So yeah, woo Instagram! xx

  • heather
    August 7, 2016

    Instagram took the best part of Snapchat and made it better, and by better I mean not changing it at all just adding it to Instagram. Instagram is just way easier to understand! I have my snapchat for friends who refuse to use Instagram (whyyyyy do you guys hate me) but Instagram will always be my default social app.

    I understand why you would care so much about your grid, those photos are part of your business, of course, the amount of likes are important! Though I will admit I do get a bit sore when my sisters poorly lit 1000th cat photo gets more likes than my carefully thought out ones.

  • Sophie Cliff
    August 8, 2016

    This was such an interesting read – I was a little bit on the fence about this but you have encouraged me to download the update and check it out! xSophie Cliff

  • Harlow
    August 8, 2016

    When snapchat came out I refused to use it, and never did! I feel overwhelmed by all of the social media platforms bloggers are expected to use as it is, so I wasn’t going to add another one to the list. When instagram stories came out I groaned about how now I will “have” to use it since I already have instagram. So I was pretty shocked when I realised I actually really freaking LOVE IT. I am not normally active on instagram because I worry about clogging my feed with stuff that isn’t perfect and making everyone hate me, but instagram stories means I can just post whatever I feel like and not worry. I love how real it is!

  • Charlotte Lane
    August 8, 2016

    I l o v e your Instagram stories! I was kind of a bit torn between whether I wanted to use it or not but the points you have mentioned are soo true and I’m definitely going to start using it now 🙂 xo

    Char | http://www.charslittleblog.blogspot.co.uk

  • sheridan grady
    August 8, 2016

    Hahaa I love this!! I have also been loving the new Instagram Stories! But I miss the filters!! Great post x

    http://www.shayholly.co.uk

  • Lainy
    August 8, 2016

    I love this post! I totally share your enthusiasm for stories and agree that the reach it’ll bring will be far more than Snapchat. I work in social media and marketing and I struggle to build a decent snapchat community but i work with a thriving Instagram community and to be able to bring this new, more real, more social content is really exciting!

  • Kacy
    August 8, 2016

    I have been anti-Snapchat since the beginning but definitely feel like Instagram Stories are something I could get into. I agree it’s all about the ease of use and the fact that it’s built into one of my more successful social media platforms is very attractive. Great post!

  • Bonita Vear
    August 9, 2016

    I have loved Snapchat for the old “chill & real” vibe that Insta used to have before all the 3-P feeds came along (pretty, polished, professional) ~ but like yourself I do love a good 3-P shot on Instagram, and once you are down that theme rabbit hole, you just can’t stop…

    Honestly, InstaStories is just as good as Snapchat; and though I do love a good Snapchat filter, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they come out with filters soon. It will be a thing given how blatantly they’ve already ripped off Snapchat. On one hand I really want to be mad at Instagram for doing that; it really makes me cringe as an artist… I mean, it’s just another case of a huge corporation getting away with steal someone else’s work! buuuttttt…. I love that my audience is already there; it’s a one-stop social media platform, and let’s be honest, it’s made Instagram actually fun again, and not just work. *sigh* I’m so conflicted! :S

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  • Charlotte
    November 6, 2017

    I am ABSOLUTELY obsessed with instagram stories, I swear half my life is on there! I was never a fan of snapchat, but I love all the new features which have come out for insta. I’m desperate to get to 10k for the swipe up feature but I am literally no where near that yet!

    Charlotte | Two Cats One Flat

AD | We’re spending a few days at @highlandheatherlodges in beautiful Perthshire, for what Terry is optimistically referring to as his ‘birthday week’. (I say ‘optimistically’ - we’re only here for three days, and his birthday was yesterday, but don’t stop believing, Terry!)⁣
⁣
There’s a hot tub for us and a playpark for Max, so needless to say, we’re having a fantastic time, and I’m already dreading having to leave. Today’s big question: can I pass as an under-12, so I qualify for a pony ride at the nearby wildlife centre? 🤔 (On second thoughts, don’t answer that one...)⁣
.⁣
.⁣
.⁣
#thetraveltag #scotland_ig #visitscotland #scotland_insta #scotlandlife #scottishblogger  #stayandwander #travelbloggerlife #travelblogging #tblogger #thattravelblog #travellifestyle #travelpreneur #perthshire #scotlandinsta #reallifeandstyle #wearingtoday #igstyleblogger #fashiongrammerv

AD | We’re spending a...

AD | Time for a quick game of “Where’s Amber?”⁣
⁣
It’s another rainy Monday, so I’m throwing it back to our trip to @universalorlando ‘s amazing Volcano Bay water park last month. I’m a bit of a scaredy when it comes to water flumes, but this park had tons of stuff for pretty much everyone: plenty of rides for me, and an amazing splash pad for Max 👶In fact, I’d still be on The Fearless River right now if I possibly could be. Still, doing the laundry and turning the heating on will be just as good, right? Right?! 🌋 🏊‍♀️ .
.
.
#universalorlando #volcanobay #waterpark #lazyriver #vacay #floridavacay

AD | Time for a...

Good news! We took Max to hospital this morning, and saw two different surgeons, who agreed there was no need to go ahead with the surgery as his lip is healing really well on its own 😅  He’ll definitely have a scar, unfortunately, but that would’ve been the case whether he’d had the surgery or not, and if it turns out to be worse than anticipated, we’ll have the option to have it corrected under local anaesthetic when he’s older. ⁣
⁣
I’m still really upset that this happened in the first place, obviously, but so relieved that we don’t have to put him through a general anaesthetic, and just incredibly grateful that it wasn’t anything worse. I know some parents have to deal with much more serious stuff than this, and my heart goes out to you all: it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m really grateful to everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday’s post - your stories were so comforting when I was panicking yesterday ❤️ ⁣
⁣
(Old photo, obviously: every time Max sees the selfie camera, he thinks it’s going to be one of those filters where you open your mouth and something happens 😂)⁣
⁣
#pbloggers #mummybloggers #mummybloggersuk #ukmumblog #mumblogsuk #mumblogs #mamablog #ukparentbloggers #parentbloggersuk #ukparentingblog #parentingbloggers #motherhoodblogger #motherhoodblog #ukblogger #ukofficialblogger #happyblogger #mummyblog #bloggerclubuk #instamum

Good news! We took Max...

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve just spent the morning in Accident & Emergency with Max, who fell on the path outside the house and split his lip open 😥 ⁣
⁣
They tried to stitch it up at A&E, but it was totally impossible with him awake, so they’ve booked him in to have it done under general anaesthetic tomorrow ... Max is absolutely fine: the bleeding stopped quickly, he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and is just his normal, happy little self. I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck: the plastic surgeon he saw today reckons if we don’t have it fixed, his lip will be crooked when it heals, but I’m absolutely *terrified* of the thought of my baby having to have a GA. ⁣
⁣
If you’re a long-time follower, you might know that I have a full-blown phobia of general anaesthetic (I literally had an elective c-section in order to eliminate the possibility of an emergency one, which might have had to be done under GA), so I just can’t get my head to accept that it’s safe and he’ll be fine 😥 ⁣
⁣
Positive stories and advice very welcome: I’m just so terrified, I can’t even imagine how to get through the next 24 hours 😥😥😥

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve...

#throwbackthursday to last week, when I needed a sunhat and SPF 50 to leave the house, rather than the current raincoat and wellies situation. Can you tell the post-holiday blues are still in full swing over here? 🌧 .
.
.
#whatiwear #30plusblogs #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram  #scottishbloggers #fashionblogger  #fashionblog #fashionstyle #whatimwearing #stylegram  #outfitoftheday #personalstyle #todayiamwearing #styleinspiration 
#stylediaries #styleblogger #over30style

#throwbackthursday to last week, when...

I posted this on Stories over the weekend, but he looked so cute in it I figured it deserved a spot on the grid, too! This is Max all ready for his friend Eleah’s 1st birthday party on Saturday: despite the jetlag and his continuing obsession with doors of all kinds (He had an entire soft play at his disposal, but he mostly just wanted to open and close the gate into it...) he had an absolute ball, and spent the whole drive home shouting, “HAPPY! HAPPY!” Thanks to @thestirlingstyle for a great party 🥳 🎈 🎉 . (Oh, and that’s his hairbrush in his hand - boy likes to look his best 😉)
.
.
#littlepiecesofchildhood #cameramama #chikdhoodeveryday #childofig #celebrate_childhood #babieswithstyle #ootdkids #fashionbaby #trendykids

I posted this on Stories...

Previous
Diary | According to my Camera Roll
Why I Love Instagram Stories (and what it means for bloggers)