Where Do You Tell Your Story?

No, I mean literally: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook…?


From video filters to Stories, wherever Snapchat goes, its peers are sure to follow. But being first isn’t always an advantage, and Instagram’s take on the Stories concept has proven that sometimes it pays to be second.

I’m drawn to the genuine, real-time, ephemeral nature of Snapchat, and specifically the easy-going nature of Stories. Snapchat has become the de-facto means of communicating among my friends, and while it took me a while to warm up to it, I understand the appeal now.

Stories bridge the gap between the intimacy of individual messaging and the performance aspect of public feeds. The trouble is that you can’t be spontaneous and immediate on multiple platforms simultaneously. Unlike standard feed-based social networking where you can cross-post, a story is unique.

As more apps adopt the format, it leaves us having to choose a walled garden to play in. But which?

Snapchat is the original. The fountain. The cool kid on the block. It remains the only contender to have both stories and impermanent messaging (including group messaging now). But it’s also smaller, more fragile, and entirely focused on the ephemeral side of the equation.

Instagram is more balanced, offering both a permanent feed for portfolio-style browsing, as well as stories. And the way the two co-exist is truly wonderful. Stories are much more discoverable, and the transition from watching a story to visiting that person’s feed is effortless and obvious. As it should be.

What’s missing is good messaging. The direct messaging system is comparatively basic, and definitely less fun than Snapchat’s, so it does little to justify its use over any other messaging platform.

In the end, I’m stuck using a combination of both apps: Snapchat for direct messaging, and Instagram for sharing images and stories (you can follow me if you like!). But I can easily imagine a future where the bulk of my sharing and communication happens within just one of those places.

What about you?


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