What Is Instagram Reels, and Is It a TikTok Clone?

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Reels is a new feature on Instagram that allows people to create 15-second videos á la Vine and TikTok. But is Instagram Reels just a TikTok clone? Easily-digestible, short video clips are certainly not new on social media. TikTok is the latest platform to use it, and it’s become incredibly popular. Now, Instagram has jumped on the bandwagon with Reels. Let’s take a look at how the two apps compare.

What Is Instagram Reels?

First and foremost, Reels is a video-creation tool. It’s a new mode you can access through the Instagram Stories camera. You can make a Reel from a single or series of clips, but it can only be a maximum of 15 seconds. Instagram expects most Reels to include multiple clips, though. There’s even a handy tool for aligning a new clip with the previous one to create a seamless transition.

Like an Instagram Story, there are a number of editing tools available for Reels. You can add music, adjust playback speed, and use Instagram’s existing library of augmented reality effects. Reels also has a timer and countdown for recording videos hands-free. After you record a clip, you can add stickers, text, and doodles.

Sharing a Reel is mostly the same as sharing anything else on Instagram. Accounts set to public can share Reels to a dedicated space in the “Explore” tab. Private accounts can simply share the Reel to their feed. You can also share a Reel as your Instagram Story.

Once you create a Reel, a new “Reels” tab will appear on your profile, and they’ll also appear in your main profile grid.

Again, Reels can also be posted to the public “Discover” tab, so you can browse through videos from accounts you might not follow. You can scroll through and Like, Comment, or Share the same as you would with any Instagram post.

You might think Reels sounds a lot like Instagram Stories. While both creation tools function similarly, they serve different purposes. Stories are intended to be more of a social feature that allow people to share short videos or photos, which are only visible for 24 hours. Reels are more about creation and entertainment.


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