Snapchat: The Social Network to Beat?

By Nikki Bracy
snapchat

Could Snapchat be the social network to beat? Facebook and Instagram certainly seem to think so.

Since Snapchat came onto the scene in 2011, it has climbed the charts — particularly amongst millennials who had learned the hard lesson that what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet. The fact that your “snaps” disappear after 24 hours was very attractive to the demographic.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that Facebook and Instagram have been trying to keep up with Snapchat ever since. From the distant memory that is Facebook Poke to Zuckerberg’s failed attempt to buy Snapchat for $3 billion (the app is now valued at $20 billion), Facebook has continued to try and go toe-to-toe with the fun, messaging app. And now it’s dragged Instagram into the nonsense.

In August, Instagram — the social network known for artful photography and videography — introduced “Instagram Stories”, a clone of Snapchat stories that allows you to post photos and videos that you can draw on and that only last for 24 hours. Instagram promoted Stories as a way for Instagram users to be more creative. But come on, we all know it was just a way to give Instagram users the Snapchat experience within its own application.

Then, just two weeks ago, Facebook launched “Messenger Day” in select countries where Snapchat isn’t active. Messenger Day allows people to post photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours just like (you guessed it) Snapchat! So original.

A little healthy competition is always great, but here’s my issue. Social networks (like all businesses) should know what they’re best at and stay in their lane. It’s okay to not be everything to everyone. The value of Instagram was that it was where you went to find beautiful, artful and thoughtful photos. You went to Instagram to see the highlights of people’s lives — travel experiences, impressive artwork and design, mouthwatering meals, aspirational fashion and inspirational quotes. With the introduction of Instagram Stories, people are sharing silly, thoughtless content and quite frankly, altering what made Instagram special and unique.

Now while I personally think that Instagram’s and Facebook’s attempts to compete against Snapchat by literally copying off of it are lame and unoriginal, there are some benefits to Instagram Stories. For example, if you already have a strong following on Instagram and you have an audience that is less active on Snapchat, providing real-time content through Instagram Stories can increase your visibility on Instagram and potentially deepen engagement with your followers.

Do you use Snapchat and Instagram Stories? Which do you prefer?

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