“It’s not about spamming everyone you know. It’s about sharing a moment with your friends.”
– Kevin Systrom, Founder & Chief Executive of Instagram
As we’ve come to learn over the past couple months, the social media networks that we’ve grown to love and obsessively post on, have all been updated or have acquired a new feature: private messaging. So what does this mean? Why the sudden change? Isn’t the whole reason of Instagram to share your cool-filtered images with your couple-hundred followers?
There are two parts to this answer – although Twitter, Facebook and Instagram thrive on openness, private interactions have always been necessary. The rise of popular social networks adding this feature is simply to accommodate those with a need for more intimate collaborations and groups. Public sharing will always dominate in the world of social media, but we can all agree that there are times you’ve been tempted to post something intended for a small group of people and simply decided not to at all.
There’s also another motive behind Instagram’s addition of private messaging. The culprit goes by the name of Kik, a separate messaging service becoming rather popular among Instagram users. Kik users were meeting on Instagram through the #kikme hashtag and moving the conversation to a separate app. This was simply proving that Instagram users were not receiving the privacy they were craving, which clearly resulted in moving the conversations and interactions elsewhere. It was clear that in order for Instagram to maintain the 150M users on its network, it had to meet its audience’s needs and demands.
Just two days before Instagram Direct was launched in December 2013, Twitter updated its existing Direct Message feature to enable users to privately send pictures in addition to messages. A little over a month before that upgrade, Facebook completely redesigned its stand-alone messaging app to appear similar in nature to text messaging.
Now what? Like everything else in the world, there are pros and cons with private messaging among social networks. Let’s take a look and weigh the difference:
Pros of Private Messaging
• Private conversation(s) around a particular photograph or video with an individual or small group
• There are some things you don’t want to send publicly.
• You can network more easily.
• Turn your social network into an IM.
• You don’t feel the pressure of sharing everything with the world.
Cons of Private Messaging
• Private messaging does not ensure success. Users will always find a need for other services.
• Spammers love private messages (yikes).
• Creepers. Enough said.
• Too many options can lead you to miss an important conversation.
• Jealous significant others.
It’s clear that this inherent need for intimacy among users has shed some light onto why private messaging has all of a sudden become so popular. Tell us your thoughts or experiences with the latest updates in private messaging on these social media networks! Leave us a comment below.