Instagram is Trying to Make Everything a Reel

Instagram is Trying to Make Everything a Reel
Image: Instagram/Gizmodo Australia

While Meta is over here trying to make Facebook as TikTok as it can be, its other social media site is trying to make everything a Reel.  So yes, also like TikTok.

Adagram, sorry, Instagram, has today declared that any video under 15 minutes in length will be shared as a Reel. Reels, if you’re unfamiliar, is a bunch of short videos on a seperate tab within Instagram that people visit when they accidentally tap on the icon.

Currently, a public profile that posts a video under 90 seconds in length can be served up to people you don’t know. With this update, any video, sorry, Reel, could be seen by strangers. Just like TikTok. These Reels will have their own tab on your Instagram profile (and it will be merged with the videos tab).

Also announced today was a way to easily create these Reels. The first is ‘templates’, which is basically what it says on the tin. There are pre-existing templates you can edit with your own pic/video uploads. It’s also launching a ‘stitch’ feature, but it’s calling it ‘dual’. You can’t make this up. Dual allows you to record content and your reaction at the same time.

There’s also ‘remix’, which serves as a good reminder to switch your profile over to private. In the coming weeks, you will be able to remix public photos. Instagram says this gives you “limitless inspiration to create your own unique reel”, but Gizmodo Australia says this allows people to easily take photos uploaded by others and make a short movie slide show of someone else’s photos.

The thing with Reels, though, is that if you watch one video, it just serves you 30-plus more videos exactly the same. Despite TikTok knowing far too much about you, at least its algorithm gives you a mix of content, not just cat videos interrupted by a sponsored post here and there.

We knew this change was coming, we reported earlier this month it was being tested. But we’re still left asking why? Who wants this? Wouldn’t it be nice to maintain some differentiation between all these social media platforms? Instagram is becoming Tiktok, Tiktok is trying to be Instagram, Snapchat is mimicking Twitter and who knows what Twitter is doing now post-Elon Musk, but it was trying replicate TikTok too. As we pondered on July 1, what’s the point? It’s almost enough to compel one to delete these apps altogether. But what would we doomscroll?