It’s easy to underestimate the power of Instagram Direct Messaging. @verge did an interview with Instagram’s head of Product for Instagram Messaging, Connor Hayes, specifically about Direct Messaging and how it’s used. It’s a long interview with a ton of very valuable insights, so I’m going to break it up into a few posts with the highlights.

Connor explains that Instagram gives you the ability to get in touch with anyone without knowing their phone number. When kids get their first phone, they create an Instagram and they can get in touch with anyone in their class without requiring their contact information.

According to Connor, the majority of messaging on Instagram is similar to how people use text messaging with people they know. ”In general when we talk to people we know in real life, we’re not talking about urgent things – it’s not “I’m outside, come here really quickly”, it’s more transactional conversations like “did you watch Game of Thrones last night? or “Did you see that shot in the basketball game?” It’s about building relationships from content on Stories or Explore that you want to share with your best friends. It starts with a meme, but then turns into a longer conversation and becomes another 50 messages after that. Building relationships through sharing content isn’t something that happens the same way on other platforms.” That”s definitely a key difference between Instagram and other social media apps.

How do your conversations in Direct Messaging start? How do you use Direct Messaging? Look for more details on this tomorrow.

Photo credit: @lnphotoart