Instagram has recently unveiled its newest update which allows users to stream live video to their followers and send disappearing photos and videos to friends. The live video feature comes in the wake of Facebook’s success in the same field, offering live video streaming from their smartphone app.

Live video

Instagram will also feature a new section in its “explore” tab displaying current live streams that might interest you. This is intended to create a laid-back live video consumption experience for users.

Following in Facebook’s footsteps

It would appear then that Instagram are simply following in the footsteps of their parent company, Facebook. Facebook released their livestreaming feature in August 2015, just over a decade after its UK release in 2004. The main difference between the popular Facebook Live update and the Instagram Live function is seen once the stream has ended.

Once an Instagram Live stream has ended, the video disappears forever. This means that users cannot share their stream once it has ended and no one can view it from the moment the user stops streaming. Although this might seem like an unusual decision, an Instagram spokesperson has stated that this was “so you can feel comfortable sharing what you want, anytime”.

How will this affect use?

The idea of a Live stream disappearing once no longer live might seem counterproductive but it encourages users who might not be as confident to give it a try and feel more confident in the knowledge that they have complete control over their video and it cannot be shared or distributed without their consent.

This separates it from livestreaming platforms like Facebook and Periscope and entices a different audience. Instead of users streaming in order to gain popularity and draw an audience – people streaming on Instagram are more likely be more personable and stream to small groups of friends or followers instead. Since the release of the new update, many have taken to the streaming feature, but we are yet to see how it will shape the future of social media.

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