Instagram’s foray into messaging

On Dec 12, I woke up at 7am (PST) to catch the live stream of Instagram’s greatly hyped “mystery” announcement.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom opened with a brief overview of Instagram, leading up to the unveiling of Instagram Direct – Instagram’s new private photo messaging feature.

Systrom’s emphasis on communication:
“Photos alone are just art. Photos when transmitted become communication.”

Systrom on Instagram food photos:
“But I don’t think this is just brunch, it’s a visual status message. … It’s revolutionary.”
(The foodie Instagrammer in me totally loved this quote!)


So what exactly is Instagram Direct?

Systrom gave a demo from his phone,  sharing a photo of his dog with his girlfriend, and walking through other key functionalities.

In essence, Instagram Direct is a direct messaging system that allows you to share your photos with a select audience, privately.

The key functionalities of this new feature are summarized in the slide below:

Key functionalities of Instagram Direct
(Please excuse the grainy mobile screenshot quality!)

Being the die-hard Instagram addict that I am (& overall app geek!), I was excited to try this new feature out immediately!

Trying out Instagram Direct with my Instagram friend @hipstayellowtara!

My initial thoughts:
Instagram Direct is beautifully integrated into the photo sharing flow in Instagram. However, this new feature is not compelling enough for me to make the switch from my usual go-to apps for photo messaging. Aside from the fact that it is a part of Instagram (& hence affords users the standard Instagram photo editing options), there is no real key differentiator between Instagram Direct & other photo messaging apps. 

Instagram version 5.0 with Instagram Direct is now available in Apple’s App Store, and on Google Play.

Instagrammers, have you updated to the latest version yet? What do you think of this new feature?


2 thoughts on “Instagram’s foray into messaging

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