You can actually swipe left-to-right across the whole screen to go into shooting mode. And do the reverse to hit DMs.
I agree, it’s way too early to tell if this will be successful. But it does bring DMs to the forefront in a way that may otherwise have been impossible. I’ve sent more DMs on Instagram in the last day than I have in the last four (??) years.
The level of total integration is impressive. More impressive is how non-distruptive these changes are to the core experience of the app, which is scrolling through gorgeous images. As soon as you scroll 50 pixels, the Stories are gone.
In theory this should make the stream even higher quality. I sometimes go months without posting to Instagram because the stakes are so high for the stream. I suspect others feels this way too.
Will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I am beyond impressed with how elegent this first iteration feels.