Why aren't these stories on Instagram?

Instagram stories have two important limitations:

  1. Our stories have long-term relevance and Instagram stories are meant to expire after 24 hours— yes you can 'pin' them to your profile but it's a clunk way to browse stories.
  2. Instagram stories are not part of the open-web— which means they aren't discoverable by search engines. Instead they live in the 'walled garden' of Instagram.

But there's an even bigger reason why we're not on Instagram: Facebook (owner of Instagram) has been a long-time volatile partner for media companies. Instagram may be a way to grow an audience quickly but there's little certainty around how long or how much you can rely on that channel. We favour distribution channels such as our own iPhone app and email because we control our relationship to our audience. Hometown is a media company and media companies need to own their own distribution in order for them to succeed. We'd rather take the harder road of building a real relationship with our audience then pursuing the false success of Instagram.