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