• The big news in the world of social media this week is the launch of IGTV, a feature that enables vertical, long-form videos on Instagram.

    It’s available in both the native Instagram app and a new standalone IGTV app.

    Until now, in addition to its beautiful and simple photo and video feed, Instagram users have been able to create short 15-second disappearing video in Instagram Stories, but IGTV allows for videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes (some up to an hour). Eventually, there will be no limit.

    Most social media users are familiar with livestreaming platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram Lives, Periscope and so on.

    IGTV is not livestreaming. Think of it more like another kind of YouTube. Users create a channel on Instagram and video is uploaded from your camera’s video roll.

    For now, the main difference between IGTV and YouTube is that video on IGTV is only vertical. This is ideal for mobile use, but challenging for those who already have a lot of collateral on YouTube.

    Rebecca Coleman teaches social media at BCIT, UBC and Douglas College. She has a popular cooking channel on YouTube, and she’s the author of the vegan cookbook, Aquafabulous.

    Coleman regularly offers fun, snappy 10-15 second cooking demos via Instagram Stories. IGTV could be a natural for her, but she has a concern with the vertical format.

    “I find it frustrating that it has to be in vertical format, which means we can’t upload any horizontal videos, which is most of what I have because I create for YouTube,” she said.

    “My guess is Instagram has done it [vertical format] for that reason.”

    Coleman is on to something. IGTV is definitely positioned as an alternative to YouTube for the video channel market. The good news for Coleman and other YouTube creators is that there is a workaround.

    Horizontal videos can be repurposed using software like Screenflow or Camtasia, so if you’ve already produced some good YouTube video that’s more than 15 seconds and less than 10 minutes, you may be good to go.

    Will IGTV be a game-changer? It’s hard to say. The feature is really new, and, like all new platforms it will take some time to see how it performs.

    I’ve been tinkering with it, and so far, I like it. Instagram is by far and away my favourite social media home and I’m happy to be able to create more long-form content there.

    My strategy with Instagram Stories has been to document rather than produce, and I am a big fan of on-the-go, in-the-moment video.

    Some, like my friend and YouTube expert Steve Dotto, recommend upping production values for IGTV, but I’m on the fence. I like the accessibility and ease of simply shooting, recording and uploading.

    Each creator needs to decide for themselves how slick they want to be. That choice will be based partly on the community you serve and what they have come to expect.

    I’ve started by offering some tips on how to use IGTV, and in my first videos I’m in my pajamas. That’s not likely to change. To view the tips and find out more about IGTV, visit me on Instagram at @vickimcleod.

    You can wear your pajamas, too.

    Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article first appeared in the Maple Ridge News.