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Instagram Stories for Law Enforcement

Instagram Stories for Law Enforcement

After years of attempting to acquire Snapchat or at least create a competing product, Facebook has created a new feature added to the Instagram platform, now known as Instagram Stories.

Clicking on the plus sign will open up your camera for making your stories. The stories of people you follow will be in the circles above your feed's grid.

On Tuesday, August 2, the world was treated to a surprise. Although some controversy surrounds this latest addition to the social media world, Instagram Stories made it's debut and was the talk around the world. The controversy, you might ask, is the fact that many people were quick to point out that Instagram Stories was a complete copy-cat of Snapchat.

To much of the everyone's amazement, the CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, flat out told the world in an interview with TechCrunch that they did in fact copy Snapchat. When you think about it, he pretty much killed the buzz or rumors by coming out and acknowledging what everyone was thinking and talking about, and confirming their suspicions.

What is Instagram Stories

Instagram stories can be found right at the top left of the Instagram app while you have it open. Under the + sign, you will see a row of circles. These are the stories of the people you follow. Simply click on them and you can see the moments of their day as the day moves on. Since the content only lasts for 24 hours, you won't find it showing up in your profile grid or feed.

How To Use It - The Basics

To make a recording, you simply click on the + sign, and the screen will appear with a big white dot in the center. Touch the dot once and it will snap a picture. Hold down the dot and you can record 10 second video clips.

When you're done, you can either post to your story by clicking on the white circle with the black check mark in it, or you can click on the text or drawing icons at the top. From here, you can type a message or hand draw some text or an object.

Another thing you can do before posting is add a color filter to your picture or video. Simply swipe to the right until you find a tone you like.

Looking At Stories

You can simply click on a person's icon, and their story will appear. By tapping on the phone, you can advance through the story. However, by swiping to the left, you can advance forward to the next story.

When you're on someone's story, you can send them a message as well, by clicking on the words 'Send Message' on the bottom left of their story.

How Can We Use This As Law Enforcement?

First, there's a pro and a con to Instagram Stories. For the pro, I will say it is easier to use or learn to use, because most people on Instagram have a pretty good understanding about the platform. It's nice to have a platform that does two things for the price of one.

The flip side is history has taught me that if you do something really well, stick to that one thing. Don't try to be all things or try to start mastering something else. Snapchat has the shortened version video and quick picture platform and app mastered. That also means they've acquired a large following, and I would say it's a pretty loyal following at that. If Snapchat doesn't start losing popularity over Instagram Stories, it could create a problem of deciding which to go with for your department's program.

What I like about Instagram Stories is it allows us to share moments of our day in the police world with the public. We can be candid, and hold improv type interviews or discussions with officers. We can speak to our communities on a human, unscripted, front.

Key Points For This Episode

72% of 12 to 24 year olds are using Snapchat. Platforms like Snapchat, or added features to existing platforms like Instagram Stories, are the way to connect with students and growing generations we need to be connecting with.

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