Instagram has done this before, adding features to its app that were introduced by other social media sites. It added Instagram Stories after Snapchat became a hit; it added Reels after TikTok’s short-video trend went viral; now it’s adding Dual to the mix. If you aren't aware, Dual is a two-camera feature popularised by BeReal, the new social media app that has soared to the top of the App Store.
With this latest update, we’re left pondering: is Instagram getting desperate in its attempt to compete with other social media sites?
In a recent news update, Instagram’s parent company, Meta announced a series of new features for Instagram, which it plans to roll out over the next couple of weeks. These features include updating the platform’s Reel section and adding more creative tools for Reel content.
One of these new creative tools is the Dual feature, which allows users to record content and their reaction at the same time using their phone's front and back cameras simultaneously, offering a fun way to capture dual perspectives of any moment. Sounds great, right? Well, the app BeReal has been utilising this feature for the past two years. Instagram, however, misses the point of BeReal.
BeReal, which launched in 2020, is an app that lets users share their life in real-time. The app randomly sends a notification at a specific time each day, and then the user has two minutes to take a picture using both the front and back cameras. At the same time, other friends are doing the same thing and can check out each other’s photos.
Earlier this year, BeReal gained massive amounts of popularity with Gen Zs, reaching the top of the App Store in July with over 27.9 million downloads.
Instagram's latest update includes a Dual feature, which is similar to BeReal's but doesn't allow for the same level of interaction. BeReal thrives on posting authentic content at random times and sharing it with friends; Instagram just doesn't have the infrastructure to support that kind of experience. It begs many questions—like why they would include this feature, besides jumping on a trend.
Instagram is trying too hard to be everything for everybody, and it's not working. Instagram's unique strength is its engaging visual content, but the app has lost sight of this in its attempts to chase every trend and feature that other social media platforms are doing. Their 25% engagement decline since 2021 proves this.
Following Meta’s announcement, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian shared their frustrations with Instagram’s recent changes and shared petitions that said, “Stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends.”
Ultimately, we would like to see Instagram focus on improving the core social aspects of their app, focusing on engaging visual content. Improving upon these features would allow the app to deliver what users are after when they open the app and respond to their needs. Hopefully, with time, Instagram will optimise its current features, not implement new ones based on existing platforms.
What do you think Instagram should do? How do you feel about their recent updates? Do you still use Instagram these days? Do you prefer watching Instagram Reels or TikTok? Would you try BeReal?