How do you use Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Whatsapp Status, given they seem to offer same features? This article hopes to clear the questions.
Live Life, Share Live
First, there was Facebook Live, a feature to let Facebook users do live video broadcast and let people see live. Viewers can post reactions and comments which appears on other viewers in real time too. Once the broadcast ends, the video will be made available as a normal video which can be watched by those who have missed it.
Then comes Instagram Stories, a copy of Snapchat, allowing users to post photos or videos that lasts 24 hours before being removed.
Instagram then up the ante further by provide Instagram Live. The difference with Facebook Live is that the videos will not be retained after the live session ends. That is the truest form of live, where no one can revisit the moments.
Recently, Whatsapp updated the app to change the way statuses are presented. What used to be static text is now multimedia content, where the user publishes photos, GIF, or videos on the status tab, which lasts 24 hours, just like Instagram Stories or Snapchat.
Copy For A Purpose
You might think: why are these apps offering identical features? The reason is to extend the features to more consumers who do not use all the above apps.
Honestly, I thought Snapchat feature was fun, but I had no followers, so I did not use it. Then Instagram Stories come along, so now I can do snapchat-like posts over Instagram.
Similarly, Facebook Live is an amazing concept, giving every Facebook user the ability to deliver live visual content. But I am wary of using it because since the video will be saved and posted on the Facebook feed, I am more conscious about ensuring the video content is of good quality. More importantly, there is value in the videos. For instance, using it to record concerts or press events are good, while recording an ad-hoc selfie moment may not be a good idea.
Instagram Stories Live solves that problem. Now I can do live broadcast which does not get saved. It is the most authentic form of engaging without worry of being recorded or having awkward silent moments (of course there are still ways to capture them, but at least it is not a given). Hence, if you want to share the moment and reach out to many people for an engaging interaction, this mode will be the best.
Whatsapp New 24-hour Status
OK, now Facebook, who owns Whatsapp and Instagram, thought it is a good idea to extend this idea of sharing visual content as Whatsapp statuses. The Whatsapp Status feature is identical to Instagram Stories and Snapchat: you post photos or videos and it appears in the new Status tab. Each content shows the number of views and their identity, and once they choose to reply to that content, it appears on the private Whatsapp chat. The content plays one after another, from one user to another. Just like Instagram Stories, except these are your personal contacts, not strangers you follow on Instagram.
I guess Facebook has its best intentions. After all, not everyone uses Instagram, but billions use Whatsapp.
There has been some backlash, but it always happens when a new feature gets introduced. If you ask me, I think the issue has been overblown. First of all, how many Whatsapp users actually notice the static Whatsapp status? I don’t, and I don’t care. Do people actually notice that you put “Do not disturb”? My guess is that Whatsapp found statistically that the status is so dormant that it would be a good idea to introduce this feature to open up this concept of 24-hour status sharing to the “traditional” messaging folks. (Instagram also has a private messaging feature but I bet it’s underused).
I would still like to have a static status text as an option, or introduce “Profile” so that Whatsapp users can put some static information. And I believe Whatsapp will be updated with them in time to come, so I’ll put this matter aside, given that it will revive soon.
As for the new Whatsapp status, my friend found out that he is able to see status updates of “strangers” who are in the Whatsapp contact list. This is because Whatsapp does not require “permissions” to add contacts. You can add an acquaintance or a business contact, and voila, their latest statuses can appear in the tab. Yes, you can restrict users from viewing the status, but for now it is not easy because you have to select every single user to allow or to block.
So what? My feel is that: if you are not comfortable about sharing the status to everyone on Whatsapp, don’t. No one is forcing you to use it. If someone else is doing it, then just enjoy watching the statuses. If you feel compelled to post content as statuses, then share appropriately. I suppose photos of food or the place you are at would be rather safe. Leave all the other restricted content to within the private chat groups.
Instagram Multiple Photos
Meanwhile, Instagram has introduced yet another feature: allowing users to post multiple photos in a single post, which can be browsed by swiping right. It’s great, as I no longer post multiple photos on separate posts for the same event, which might overwhelm followers.
The features may appear identical, but the usage must be different. Instagram Stories are 24-hour events to share to your followers who fit the interest profile of your Instagram account, e.g. behind-the-scenes photoshoot for a photography-centric account. Whatsapp Status are 24-hour events to share to your Whatsapp contact lists, and probably should be public-friendly moments, e.g. jogging, having a meal. Facebook Live is for important events that you want people to watch and to re-watch after it is over, e.g. concerts, soccer matches, press events. Instagram Live is for moments that you want people to watch and join in the engagement but will not be able to re-watch again, e.g. spontaneous unplanned happenings, rants.
Ultimately, to survive the onslaught of live statuses and streaming content, smartphones must have large battery, and consumers must stomach huge data usages. Be prepared!