Instagram: the new medium for breaking news?

They say a picture paints a thousand words, right? Well that’s certainly the case on Instagram. The ostensibly image-led platform is becoming the new medium for sharing breaking news and stories.

Now we’re not saying that the BBC is gearing up to replace the 6 o’ clock news with Instagram updates. This is more of a trend for celebrities and public figures sharing news about themselves and stories about current activities.

Social Media Stars

Take ‘The Hills’ star Lo Bosworth for example – in a post on Friday to her almost 900k followers, the reality star shared some personal news. She’d been battling depression and encouraged users to head to her blog via a link in her bio to read a motivational story about her diagnosis and journey.

On the surface this can be seen as a great way to control the conversation – only circulating information that you want to be out there can be a great tool.

However, the lack of ability to use links in captions creates a real barrier to publishing these sorts of stories. There have been over 170k views on Lo’s Boomerang video directing people to her blog, but how many of these people actually clicked through to read the full story?

Images can also be open to interpretation. Adele shared an image on her channel over the weekend with a simple caption about a recent show she played. However, some of her eagle-eyed 24 million followers are reading this as a pregnancy announcement simply due to the placement of her hand.

Pregnancy Announcements the Instagram Way

Cheryl Cole has also fallen victim to Instagrammers desperate to read between the lines for some kind of breaking news. Sharing some motivational words on International Women’s Day, Cheryl was seen to be hinting at the sex of her baby. Something she’s been particularly coy about during her famously secretive pregnancy.

Beyoncé knows how it’s done. Instead of overly relying on copy, her feed is incredibly visual and can tell a story with just images. In fact she’s racked up over 12 million views and 3 million likes on her last 3 uploads. All without typing a single word.

She’s able to control the conversation around her and has scored the most liked Instagram photo of all time. Also her pregnancy announcement didn’t use a single hashtag, defying convention.

So what’s the best way to break news on Instagram? Keep it short, keep it sweet and for the love of Instagram, don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Otherwise the world will be running out to buy pink baby-grows.

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