We all thought TikTok was just for today's youth. But the app's explosive success and lasting effect it has had on social media is nothing to scoff about (800 million active users worldwide!). Yesterday Instagram rolled out Reels, its newest feature and answer to TikTok. In a statement released Wednesday, the social media app announced:
“Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore.”
Much like TikTok, Reels offers features like effects, timers, speed control and music to spice up short videos. It's launched across 50 countries and is conveniently embedded in Instagram for easy access to the platform's 1 billion monthly users. The biggest difference between the two apps is that Reels has augmented reality effects that let users overlay photos and filters onto their videos. You can publish them in Stories, as DMs or have them live in a new tab on your profile.
With TikTok's future hanging in the balance over potential privacy and user security issues, Instagram’s wasted no time with an alternative to fill the potential TikTok-shaped space. You might be thinking: That's a little ruthless. Well, that's show biz, baby. But it's worth noting that this isn’t the first time that Instagram’s adopted a feature from a different app. Remember when we all (I) scoffed at Instagram Stories as an alternative to Snapchat Stories? Look at where we are now. From what I can tell, Snapchat's been gathering dust for some time.
It's clear that short-form content is having its moment, so it's no surprise that Instagram wants in -- especially given TikTok's surge in popularity while everyone's bored in the house (and in the house bored). From catchy dances going viral to hilarious Vine-like videos and even celebrities joining in on the fun, it's hard not to see the appeal, especially for our short attention spans. But in addition to TikTok, Reels will also have to contend with the other short-form video apps that are out there, such as Byte, Dubsmash, Likee and Triller.
Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time that Instagram's parent company Facebook has tried its hand at short-form video. In 2018 the social media titan launched Lasso, with little success. The app, which quietly shut down last month, has clearly paved the way for Reels.
“Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage,” said Instagram in its statement.
The question remains: Will TikTokers stay loyal to the platform even if it does survive or jump ship to Reels? Only time will tell if the new Instagram app feature takes off. Stay tuned!