Over the weekend I went to BroadwayCon - think ComicCon, but for musical theatre geeks. I used the weekend as an opportunity to hang out with my mom and my sister, take in a show, soak up some Broadway positivity, and learn a platform.
Instagram Stories launched in August and I had played around with it a little bit. I've been asking cast members of the projects that I'm working on to takeover and play with it as well. But most of the time I would just use Snapchat for its story function and use Instagram for its photo posting option. It was time to stop playing and really start mastering.
Forcing Yourself to Use a Platform
When you take an isolated amount of time and force your hand to use a platform you become more than just a casual user. You start to understand shortcuts and tricks. You internalize functionality that differentiates it from other platforms. In the case of Instagram stories, for example, I like that I can upload pictures from my camera roll in my story. You can't do that as easily with Snapchat. But there's a caveat: you can only use photos from the past 24 hours.
Of course, when you force yourself to use the platform you realize workarounds for the limitations of the platform. It adds another layer to your experience and adds another tool into your tool belt.
6 A ha moments from using Instagram Stories
- Save Shared Photos. If you need your content - or think you may need it for more than 24 hours go into settings, then into "Story Settings" and "Save Shared Photos" I realized a day and a half into the Con that there was a lot of content that is now gone forever. That's a bummer because I wanted to make a video using content from my Instagram story and I've lost an entire day's worth of photos and videos.
- Move away from the screen! I repeat, move your thumb away from the screen! Instagram Stories has a Hands Free function. I love this because I can create videos with myself in them that are more than an arm's length away.
- Edit Your Story Later You can't save an entire story into one video - this is a big difference between Snapchat and Instagram. You can save individual photos and videos (see #1) but you can't save them all together in one fell swoop. If you want that - head to Snapchat.
- Check Your Messages You can get and send messages from both your story and your standard Instagram account. That can get confusing. But now you know.
- Draw, Type, Brand I like using a combination of the drawing and typing functions. I type and then draw over it so the letter stick out and aren't difficult to read with whatever is going on in the picture. This is also fun to match together with brands. When I did some vids during a Dear Evan Hansen panel I was able to use the iconic blue, white, and black to this effect.
- Give More Context More than ten seconds gives you context.
- Boomerang and Live There are Live functions and Boomerang functions as well to make things a little more fun.
So this weekend, try out a new platform like Instagram Stories and play and play and play. Learn and learn and learn. Test. Take the platform to the limit. Figure out a workaround. Make the platform yours. And then keep using it.
You can find me on Instagram @annieschiffmann