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Instagram's new story feature is similar to that of Snapchat's, and many people use them for different reasons. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)

Students say they use Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories differently, despite similar function

Since the introduction of Instagram Stories, a feature eerily similar to the popular photo-sharing app Snapchat, the latter has seen more than a 15 percent drop in story views. However, students see varying uses for both apps, despite similarities in function and user interface.

Both Snapchat and Instagram's story function appeal to students because of their focus on visual content that's also temporary, Karen Riggs, a professor and coordinator of the Scripps College of Communication Social Media Certificate, said.

"We now have a visual culture that has (created those platforms)," Riggs said. "Younger people want pictures. They want visuals."

While posting or watching stories across the two platforms, many students have noticed a difference in what kind of content is shown.

"Stuff on Snapchat is definitely different because I only add people on Snapchat I definitely talk to," Ashley Smith, a freshman studying computer engineering, said. "If you go on Instagram, there's a wider range of people, even some I don't know that well, so I wouldn't post anything on there. Probably because I don't even know some of the people that follow me."

Smith added that she enjoyed the privacy Snapchat offered as opposed to Instagram.

"I think Snapchat is definitely more for closer friends and fun things they're doing," Smith said. "I know a lot of people have their family members following them on Instagram so when they go on vacation, they'll post pictures of that, but Snapchat is definitely an in-the-moment, fun thing."

Taylor Gardner, a sophomore studying psychology, said out of the friends she follows on the two platforms, she has noticed people use Snapchat more for pictures with friends and Instagram for pictures of scenery.

Riggs said the content is different because there is a perception Snapchat is more personal for the users.

"I think students have the perception that Snapchat's more private, and as a result, you see people using it at different times," Riggs said. "People know Instagram is a more public space, and they know Facebook owns Instagram. That's a very big deal."

Similar to how users post content, businesses also market their products on the platforms differently.

Many companies already take advantage of Snapchat now because it has existed longer, Alexa Fox, an assistant professor of marketing, said.

"Snapchat is a really useful way to get in touch with people more live than other forms of social media," Fox said. "Being able to show short content, I think that's the key."

Fox added she believes more and more companies will start to use Instagram as well, but the content will be different.

"If they're smart, they probably wouldn't repost," Fox said. "That's a big reason why consumers choose to not follow or unfollow a brand eventually ... they feel like they're seeing the content on multiple platforms. ... I think it's beneficial to create separate integrated strategies and use them in different ways."

In addition to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, Facebook has recently added a third platform with the same function. On March 9, Messenger Day launched for all users of the app after initial testing for limited users.

Just like Snapchat and Instagram, Messenger Day allows users to share a photo with everyone they are friends with for 24 hours before it disappears.

Fox believes businesses could potentially take advantage of Messenger Day.

"It's something new at this point. Right now they're not allowing brands to be in that space," Fox said. "But I do think ... businesses are already starting to think what is the best way to get on board. ... I think as there's more unique features to be integrated, brands will see the value and want to jump on board."

Some students, however, don't see the app becoming as popular as Instagram Stories or Snapchat.

"Most people who use Facebook are older," Trenton Davis, a freshman studying computer science, said. "I don't think (the users) care about posting their pictures as much as younger people do, so I don't think it will get as big."

Generation X tends to spend more time on social media than millennials, according to a New York Times report.

Molly Petre, a senior studying publication design, also felt Messenger Day would not fit in with the college crowd.

"I know a lot of my friends don't even use the Messenger App," Petre said. "I don't see it getting big. Maybe with a different crowd, but I don't think with college students."


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