I've been using Snapchat for the past few months, and admittedly, it took me a while to "get it." The more I used it, I realized it's a nice way of sending photos to close friends for those "Hey I saw this and thought of you" -type moments
But then I started adding more friends. And the more friends I added, the more random, impersonal, obviously mass-sent messages started coming my way.
Most of these messages were things I'd scroll past if they were on my Instagram timeline. But no, because it was Snapchat, I'd receive a push notification for every single one. Every single selfie. Every single low-quality food porn pic. Every single video from a club that is too dark and too loud to provide any value.
It just got too annoying.
Thankfully, Instagram Direct is here and there are a few key differentiators that make it more suited for me.
- Unlimited caption length — Compared to Snapchat's 32 character limit, I'm now able to add a meaningful message to go along with each photo/video.
- Commenting — Many times on Snapchat, I'd receive a hilarious message but would have no easy, traditional way to respond to it. Snapchat doesn't offer a typical reply feature and I refused to repeatedly take selfies just to caption them with "lol". So unless you're willing to trade selfies back and forth (which I know many people actually are), it's really hard to carry on an actual conversation on Snapchat.
- Like buttons — The simplest form of feedback.
- Recipients displayed in Mass Messages — Snapchat will never tell you if a new message was sent exclusively to you or you're just another name on a BCC list. But because Instagram lets everyone in a mass DM see each other (like an email CC list), I think people will naturally adjust by making DMs more personal and people will be more thoughtful about who they share them with.
Snapchat was built to share private photos/videos as easily as possible. It will continue to thrive with younger, share-happy generation that enjoys sending/receiving mass messages to/from a BCC list of friends.
Instagram Direct, on the other hand, was built to create more personal conversations around private photos/videos.
And that's what I care about more.