BBC News is Experimenting with Instagram-Delivered News Clips

Just a few short decades ago, there were very few methods of news consumption: television, radio, and newspapers. One of my favorite things about the modern web is not the abundance of news sources, per sé, but rather the cumulative effect of all of those sources: personalization. It would be difficult to find two people active on the web who consume news the same way. Some use Twitter, some use email, some use dedicated apps. Some use a combination of all of these, or some of these. Even if you were to find similar methods of consumption amongst a group of people, the ultimate sources of their content probably differ.

BBC News is adding a new medium to the mix: Instagram. In an experiment they call #instafax, the London-based news behemoth is using Instagram's video feature to deliver micro-stories with an accompanying ultra-short video. The result, while very rough around the edges, is a news consumption mechanism unlike anything else on the web. This "story" on the science behind birds and their v-formations is one of my favorites, and is a great example of the intriguing, bite-sized news format:

There are some serious limitations to using Instagram as platform for news delivery, like the fact that links aren't yet clickable, and—this one's huge—there's no easy or built-in way to share content (currently, you'd have to copy the url in your address bar and plug it into another app or use a browser extension or bookmarklet, etc).

Still, the experiment is worth keeping an eye on for a couple of reasons. If the experiment takes off, not only will it impact news delivery on the web, but it may impact Instagram as a platform, especially since Instagram is Facebook-owned. Facebook has been working overtime lately trying to figure out how to make Big Blue a better platform for news consumption (exhibit 1A: Facebook's own Flipboard competitor). If Instagram turns out to be a suitable vehicle for news consumption, Facebook wouldn't hesitate to adapt the product to suit such needs.

For now, though, #instafax is just an experiment... but one that's fun to play with.

BBC News on Instagram