Why an “Instagram for video” is unlikely to happen


Lately there’s been a tremendous amount of hype about the potential of an “Instagram for video” as the next big thing. However, there’s a fundamental problem that stands in the way of that. For lack of a better word, it’s the problem of scannability (yes, that’s probably a brand new word…).

Twitter can be scanned quickly. Tweets are bite-sized and take mere seconds for users to process. Instagram is pretty much Twitter for images, where entries can also be scanned in mere seconds. Sometimes it doesn’t even take that long.

Videos, however, take much longer to consume, not to mention create. You could say the video format has a lot of inherent lag, usability wise.

The scannability of a feed of videos is lousy compared to a feed consisting of pictures or short text entries. Creating a community and mobile app where video sharing reaches the massive levels seen on Instagram is a very challenging problem to solve.

Then there’s another little detail: The subset of people that likes to shoot videos is bound to be much smaller than the subset that likes to take photos, if nothing else out of sheer habit. Quick, how many videos have you shot with your smartphone? How many photos? We bet photos win out by a big margin.

That’s why all this talk about finding an “Instagram for video” is a bit off. We’re not saying there isn’t room for such a service, there obviously is (hello Socialcam, hello Viddy), just that it’s unlikely to rival Instagram in terms of community and overall success.

Image via Shutterstock.

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