Instagram vs. Snapchat Stories: Why I’m (Still) Obsessed With Both

2017 is the year of the social media story. Originally created and monopolized by Snapchat, “Stories” is also a feature of Instagram (and Facebook, with little use), and is eerily similar to the Snappy original.

It’s here that I need to admit that, when Instagram originally added the Stories feature, I was flummoxed. Flabbergasted. And angry. The update came around not long after I began my first social media marketing job. I was at work when it surfaced on each person’s phone in the office, a familiar notification in the App Store. We spent the rest of that day discussing Instagram Stories off and on. How dare Instagram rip off Snapchat?! Instagram is owned by Facebook so, to us, stealing ideas from independent Snapchat just seemed wrong; I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t just use Snapchat, the home of the original story. Before I ate lunch, I posted a Snap to my story claiming my territory, promising I would never leave. 

And then, slowly, I began to see what makes Instagram stories unique: the quality. I started noticing gorgeous images and videos (along with the occasional amusing Boomerang). The drawing tools are smooth and alluring, and there are more distinct filters offered to lay over images and videos. As more of my friends and favorite influencers became acquainted with the feature, the more intrigued I became. Could I dare step back on my promise to defend Snapchat until its dying day?

I was not the only one easily suaded by the aesthetically pleasing Instagram spin-off; according to TechCrunch, Snapchat users have been using the application 20-40% less since the launch of Instagram Stories. Instagram definitely hit Snapchat where it hurts.

There’s good news here. Snapchat is not dying, with upwards of 58% of Snapchat users not being reached on any other comparable platform. Additionally, a survey conducted by WhatsGoodly in April found that 78% of millennials surveyed still preferred Snapchat over Instagram stories. And brand ambassador network Heartbeat found that out of the 100,000 13-20 year olds they surveyed, 74%  post more on Snapchat than Instagram. Yet, Instagram stories are gaining traction overall, with over 200 million daily users around the world.

The best news? You don’t have to choose just one.

Here’s why I love both:

Snapchat

 

 

  • Having been a Snapchat user since 2013, I think of Snapchat as the application on my phone that most embodies its “social” label. My friends on Snapchat don’t have to look pretty, or fancy, or be doing anything particularly interesting to post to their story or send something to me privately. 
  • Concerts, hangouts and other social events are best placed on Snapchat for privacy, which serves as another draw for the platform. Unless your account is private, anyone can see your story on Instagram. To be friends with someone on Snapchat means both parties consented to add each other. That makes the experience more intimate and explains the relaxed vibe most users find on Snapchat.  
  • I head to Snapchat if I want to know what everyone’s up to tonight. I post spur-of-the-moment videos of my friends being funny, scenic shots if the weather’s nice or not, and little victories I want to brag about. It’s where my friends are.

Instagram

 

 

  • I’ve started appreciating Instagram only really in the past year, and it’s because of newly-developed features such as the optimization for high-quality images. When Instagram updated the design of their entire interface about a year ago, every element was intentional in directing the focus of users to the images.
  • The Explore feature works to create a community feel by offering a stream of posts by accounts you don’t follow. It allows users to view similar posts to ones they’ve already liked.
  • Instagram allows you to discover new companies, stores, retailers, restaurants, and events to interact with socially. 
  • I use Instagram stories when I’m out to brunch with my friends. I post when the angles line up in my office, the sun hits just right, a tree or flower looks particularly alluring, or my favorite local shop has a cool display. It’s where I can build my social clout and community.

Unlikely as it may seem, many young people like myself still find Instagram and Snapchat stories relevant. Next time someone tells you they use both Instagram and Snapchat, know it’s a true story.

The new News from Hope College

Two words spread quickly through the Public Affairs and Marketing Division last Friday morning:

“It’s here!”

We were holding in our hands the hot-off-the-presses, newly redesigned News From Hope College. If you know the Public Affairs and Marketing team, you know we like to celebrate. Last Friday, we were feeling especially celebratory as we paged through both the print version and the web version of Hope’s flagship magazine.

Admittedly, we were feeling a little tired, too. As with any design overhaul, the process was a long one. Well over a year ago, we collectively agreed that News From Hope College needed an update. It had been almost a decade since the last redesign, and feedback from an alumni survey indicated that our readers were eager for some changes.

Four individuals took the initiative to lead the redesign:

  • Greg Olgers, who kept us firmly rooted in Hope’s tradition of excellence. Greg, the longtime editor of News From Hope College, has provided steady leadership on the magazine for decades.
  • Samantha Bruin, who inspired us with her creative vision and can-do attitude. Sam eagerly raised her hand for this project and kept us energized, even when the process felt like a marathon.
  • Rebecca Robrahn, who challenged us to consider the new and the different. An enthusiastic champion of the redesign from the start, Rebecca sparked thinking on new possibilities throughout the magazine.
  • Derek Emerson, who quietly offered perspective, posed questions and provided critique —right when we needed it. A writer at heart, Derek understands the interplay between text and image.

In the final weeks before going to print, the intensity of this project increased, and Greg, Samantha, Rebecca and Derek put in some serious man- and woman-power to make sure our end product would be stellar. I suspect they’re all ready for a long winter’s nap.

So what kind of changes will you be seeing in News From Hope College? In his article, Greg explains the changes we’ve made to, which include:

  • Different size (yes, it travels well!)
  • Larger photos
  • A new look for the regular sections of the magazine, and a tailored design for each of the features
  • Better quality paper — sustainable as well as more affordable! (My favorite description of the cover texture: “buttery”)

I am a “print person” through and through. While I consume most of my news online, I still relish the opportunity to page through a magazine over a cup of coffee. It feels like a luxury, feeling the tooth of the paper, immersing myself in the text, swooning over the photos, dog-earing the pages. Often, the web experience just doesn’t match the print experience.

In the case of the News From Hope College website, however, there is much to love and much to relish. It echoes many of the great features of the redesign — a sleek new look, bold use of photography, seamless user experience. Kudos to Craig Tommola and Jason Cash for going above and beyond to ensure this beautiful website was ready to launch the day the magazine hit mailboxes.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t express gratitude to Tom Renner, who laid the foundation for News From Hope College many years ago. Tom has been a faithful friend to Hope College and a cheerleader for the Public Affairs and Marketing team. We owe much to Tom!

What do you think of the new News From Hope College? Drop us a line and let us know.