Instagram reels, a 15 second video content, has been launched. Sounds familiar? Well, it’s no coincidence. It is essentially Instagram’s attempt to compete with, or rather replicate TikTok.
Reels is a way to create and discover fun and engaging short video clips from Instagram stories. Akin to what users do in TikTok, they can now do the same in Instagram: record and edit short videos with audio, effects and creative tools.
It is imperative to highlight that TikTok, owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDannce, is currently being targeted by President Trump with the notion that the app is of national security threat. It is evident that TikTok is facing a lot of backlash due to the concerning India- China Political outburst and the upheaval regarding security concerns. With Tiktok’s usage plummeting, post these issues, the Instagram Reels launch seems to be very strategically timed.
The functionality of Instagram Reel is very similar to TikTok. Here’s how it works: to create Reels, you’ll have to firstly, select the new mode at the bottom of the Instagram story’s camera feature. You’ll see a variety of editing tools including audio, AR effects, timer & countdown, align and speed. You choose these tools and navigate them according to your preferences. Reels can be recorded in a series of clips one at a time, all at once or using video uploads from your gallery.
Once your Reel has been recorded and finalised, you can then share it with your followers as well as be discovered in the Instagram Explore page. Instagram allows you to share the Reel in a variety of ways. As a Private account user, you can share your Reel in your Instagram feed for your followers to see it. You can also share it to your story, close friends or in a direct message. As a public profile user, you can post it on your feed as well as share it to a dedicated space in Explore for a wider range of Instagram community to view it.
Record, edit, post and voilà there you have an Instagram Reel. Clearly, not too different from a TikTok post.
Reels can be found in user’s feed as a separate Reels tab, alongside the IGTV stories. The purpose of Reels is to showcase videos about trending topics in a fun, goofy, creative and addictive manner. Instagram Reels has its own version of the For You page: the new Reels Explore Feed, a clear attempt to clone TikTok. Much like TikTok, it creates a sense of endless scrolling.
Well, this is not the first time Facebook has adapted from other platform’s popular formats and features and brought them into its own applications. Instagram story is a notable one, as it is a replica of Snapchat’s 24-hour share feature. Today, there are over 500 million users, using Instagram stories every day. With the evoking success that the replicated feature gained, it is likely that Reels may gain similar success.
As of now however, there have been mixed reviews about the newly launched feature. Some users have found it confusing, some have found it hard to discover, while other have found it convenient to have this feature within the same app. Now, only time can tell if Instagram Reels will make it past the speculation phase and create an actual stir in the social media sector.
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