Today I go deeper into the highlights of @verge’s interview with Instagram’s head of Product for Messaging, Connor Hayes, all about Direct Messages. He explained that “when we do go talk to people in research, we know that younger people, especially, tend to use a lot of different messaging apps and spread out their conversations in many, many places. Instagram tends to be the place that they feel most comfortable talking about interests based topics or the content that’s exciting to them or sharing things that they might want to buy or memes that they find funny,” and as a result of that, Instagram is making product adjustments to give people more control over how the DMs flow in.
Connor continued to explain how Instagram handles the challenges of DMs. “What we do do is allow you to, for instance, turn off any notification you would get for a message request or block a person before you even open up that message and start the conversation.” This is actually something I didn’t realize before, but it makes sense. If you know the person’s not a friend, why even open the message? Just block them right away.
Then Connor talked about some of the improvements to messaging, one of which is a really interesting way to change a friendship dynamic. “One of the things that we did earlier this year was actually bring Stories into the Inbox because we noticed that actually a lot of people aren’t just going into a story and replying directly to it. They were frequently viewing someone’s story, closing out the story, and then navigating to the inbox to send that person a text. So we started to go out into the field and ask people more like, why would you do that? What they told us was ‘I know that this person is online. You know, I saw this photo of them at the park, but I just want to have a conversation with them.’ And so they would go into their inbox and send that person a text message that says, ‘Hey, what are you up to today?’, hoping for an invite to the park, but also hoping to just get closer to that person.”
Makes total sense!! Thoughts?
Photo credit: @lnphotoart (she’s the best)