Instagram’s testing a standalone Direct messaging app
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A popular app is splitting one of its fastest growing features into its own app.
Facebook made this exact type of decision when it broke out direct messaging into the Messenger app two years ago. This time, Instagram is doing the same for users in select countries with a new app called Direct.
Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay based on its direct messaging feature, according to The Verge. Sources have told Mashable that the Direct app has been tested internally for a least the last month and a half.
The Direct app is only rolling out to those six countries for now, and the company says it has no firm plans to bring this new app to the rest of the world. But the writing is already on the wall and the message couldn’t be clearer: Instagram has become too bloated for its own good.
Instagram’s astronomical growth has put it in a weird position. It’s an app everyone spends an exorbitant amount of time using, and it’s trying to be everything to everyone.
It’s the new Facebook for people (especially kids!) who don’t care to be on Zuckerberg’s original platform because that’s where their mom and dad, and all the olds hang out. Facebook is just not that cool anymore.
At the same time, Instagram has also morphed into the new Snapchat and is doing a damn fine job destroying it, too. But trying to be an everything app means it’s lost its focus.
Do you post photos to your feed? Do you post to Stories? Do you send messages to your friends? What exactly are you supposed to do on there?
Instagram’s become too bloated for its own good.
As it stands right now, you’re supposed to use all three. But how many people actually do that?
I can tell you from my experience that I can’t give my time to all three. As I’ve become addicted to posting Instagram Stories daily, the number of posts on my feed has declined. And I rarely message anyone on Instagram Direct unless it’s to respond to a comment about something I’ve posted to my story. And that’s what could take down Direct.
I can’t speak for everyone, but based on conversations I’ve had with several friends and colleagues who are prolific Instagram users, they share the same view that their use of messaging in Instagram is very closely tied to Stories.
What’s the point of a Direct app if it’s not connected seamlessly with Instagram Stories or the posts on your personal feed? What’s the incentive to message through a standalone app when iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, or a dozen other apps already fulfill that purpose.
We don’t need another messaging app. We’ve got plenty. It’s bad enough that I have a Facebook and a Messenger app hogging up two precious spots on my phone’s main home screen. Now, Instagram wants another spot as well? No thanks.