You can finally go live with Instagram Stories

Instagram officially joined the live streaming bandwagon a few weeks ago with it’s announcement of two major updates: live video on Instagram Stories and disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends in Instagram Direct.

Thankfully, the update is finally being rolled out to the US market this week.

We’re guessing Instagram has high hopes that it has solved the problems other networks are experiencing with lagging user adoption and bad live video playback view numbers by not allowing that to happen at all.

That’s right, live Instagram Stories will disappear as soon as the user isn’t live anymore. It’s a genius move, really.

Instagram knows big events are rare in the lives of most its users. Sure, they may catch some footage of a street fight, protests or major sporting events, but most people spend their time simply hanging out with friends and family.

Most live video products on the market right now — think Facebook, think Periscope, think Hype — draw inspiration from TV broadcasts by not allowing replays  to disappear as soon as the video is completed.  When the user is done, the video is done. It’s not available for further viewing, and Instagram doesn’t offer permanent hosting.

There’s a fairly substantial amount of re-imagining behind this.

Instagram executives say their live video draws its inspiration from the way that young people hang out after school — goofing around socially, but seldom creating anything of permanent value. And the knowledge that the video will disappear almost instantly helps reduce the trepidation felt by users who worry that their work would stay alive forever.

Unlike Facebook’s live video, the Instagram product notifies only a subset of a user’s followers whenever they go live. (The notification goes out to the folks who engage with a user’s videos the most.)

Interestingly, this sets up a friendly competition between Instagram and its corporate parent, Facebook, about the way that live video will unfold. Perhaps both will be proven right, depending on the demographics of the user base.

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