Instagram is now testing an app dubbed ‘Direct’ in six countries. Direct serves to break Instagram’s current messaging offering off into it’s own app.
While it feels like most DM features in public sharing oriented social platforms like Instagram and Twitter don’t get used that often, I have actually found myself using Instagram Direct quite frequently. So from my perspective, making a standalone app for direct messages makes a lot of sense.
Moreover, it would declutter the main Instagram app and would allow Instagram’s messaging capabilities to grow outside of the shadow of the primary Instagram experience.
To paraphrase from The Verge write up on the news, Instagram is testing this app because it feels like having a mechanism for private sharing shoehorned into an app about public sharing dilutes the whole experience and creates clutter.
Another interesting implication of releasing Direct, is that the app would have a striking resemblance to Snapchat in terms of it’s features and use cases. It’s unclear though if Instagram Stories will somehow be implemented in the app.
While the messaging space has long since passed the point of oversaturation, Direct may just have a fighting chance of winning over people like me.
For starters, almost all of my friends are on Instagram and there are even some people who are on Instagram that don’t have a Facebook. So in theory, Direct is much more useful to me as I can reach more people with it than FB Messenger.
Also, the look of Instagram Direct is just feels more appealing than Facebook Messenger and it looks way less cluttered and bloated than FB’s other messaging app.
When Instagram released it’s Stories feature many people doubted that it would take off. However, this was not the case and the feature actually became incredibly popular.
While the feature itself was not an original idea Instagram succeeded in it’s impeccable execution of the feature. IG Stories is incredibly polished which attracted a lot of users , especially those who were turned off by Snapchat’s sometimes obtuse user experience.
Direct could have this same outcome. While it’s by no means first to the messaging party, it could simply just do messaging better than those that came before it. Instagram already has a leg up on other messaging apps with just sheer number of users so it’ll be interesting to actually see what shakes out or if Instagram releases this app globally at all.