There's something terribly wrong with Instagram Stories. The way that it prioritises the portrait, 16:9 format? How it encourages you to slap doodles and icons all over your photos.
Nope. For me it's the fact that But the fact that the format has nothing to do with stories. Scrapbook? Postcard? Both of these have more to do with Instagram's ephemeral format than 'stories'.
Stories implies a beginning, middle and end. No such joy with most such Instagram posts. Heck, you don't even need three sections.
Just a couple of snaps will do. Add in a couple of doodles, icons and a location tag. Job done.
I'm trying hard to dislike stories (can you tell?). But I can't. Here's why. Watching an Instagram 'Story teller' at work is to see a 21st artist at work.
Example. One of our partner-influencers visited our offices in Berlin last week. Everything, and I mean, everything was captured. To the casual observer, the process looked chaotic.
But watching the output in playback (for the next 24 hours at least) was truly staggering. The pacing of the photos, videos and - yes - the doodles was mind-blowing.
And isn't that the most moving aspect? All that effort, all that energy condemned to obscurity after just a day, like a fragile Mayfly, moments lost in time like tears etc. etc.
Ok, let's not be to poetic here. The best examples you can pin to your Instagram home page so that they live on for as long as you want.
Better make sure you do, however. As the article explains, nothing is driving engagement more than Instagram Stories.
So get shooting and spinning folks. Just make sure you hold your smartphone upright. And don't worry too much about your beginnings, middles and ends.
And that’s also why “Story” is such a terrible name for this format. Contemporary culture’s obsession with storytelling runs so deep, everything has become framed as storytelling, even when it’s clearly not. Most Stories are not storytelling. They are sequenced, which is one of the definitions of narration: an account of events. But sequence is not sufficient to create narrative, and many Stories feel like random collections of unrelated materials. Most of the ones I see on Facebook and Instagram are one- or two-image sequences, hardly enough to play out a day-in-the-life, let alone a moment, anymore. They are chains of vignettes, as seen through the frame of the smartphone’s rectangle. Moving rectangles, maybe we should call them instead, after moving images, another name for the category that contains film, television, video, and the like.