Instagram’s new ‘Channels’ feature is similar to Twitter spaces or Clubhouse. As announced by Mark Zuckerberg on his Instagram stories late last week, Instagram Channels is a ‘broadcast chat’, which will support text, images and polls, all within IG Direct.
Once you join a channel, it will be added to your IG Direct chat list. You can then read and react to messages posted in the chat – though you can’t post yourself to the chat feed. This is very similar to attending a Twitter space as a listener without speaker privileges.
Since the meteoric rise of TikTok, younger users are posting less on Instagram and instead engaging more via DMs as opposed to posting to Stories or the main feed. Channels marks Meta’s lean into the shift towards more private messaging in the app.
To stress this point, a recent report showed that while time spent on Facebook and Instagram is on the rise overall, creation and engagement is declining, with fewer people posting personal updates than they have in the past.
For that reason, this new introduction could be a simple way to align with this usage, and build community in a new way. Channels is in the process of being rolled out to selected users, while as Zuckerberg notes, it will soon also be expanded to Facebook and Messenger as well.