A look at the popular social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat battle for your attention

By Jeremy Morantz

Red River College students Jenn Walker and Ryan Taylor compare Snapchat and Instagram feeds on Jan. 17, 2018./JEREMY MORANTZ

While the threat of international war may be looming, the battle inside our smartphones is in full force.

Data analysis firm Experian Information Solutions released a study that indicates over 98 percent of college students actively use at least one social media network.

Top social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat are constantly competing for the attention of the college demographic. These two popular social media apps constantly rival each other for the greater number of monthly active users.

As it stands, Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform is outperforming Snapchat in monthly active users. According to data from Omnicore Agency and Statista, Instagram has garnered 800 million monthly active users as of late 2017, while Snapchat holds over 300 million monthly active users.

Students at Red River College suspect Instagram’s current stronghold could be due to the social media app’s recent edition of Instagram Stories. The Instagram Stories are a controversial addition to the platform, some believing that Instagram unfairly stole Snapchat’s famed feature, My Story.

“I actually don’t use Snapchat at all anymore,” said Ginger Enns, a 19-year-old Graphic Design student at Red River College’s Exchange District Campus. “I feel like I only use it for the texting now ‘cause with Instagram adding Stories now Snapchat kind of fell off.”

In what some called an effort to maintain relevancy, Snapchat introduced the Snap Map in late-2017. The Snap Map feature allows users to view a geographical map that displays where their friends are located in real time.

Although the app does allow users to disable this function, it still created hesitance among college-aged social media user demographics who find the feature to be a violation of privacy.

“The location stuff is weird,” said Cody Cavers, an 18-year-old student in the Red River College’s Graphic Design program. “You can turn it off but I really don’t like the idea of it and it seems like they just did it to get attention.”

In the fall of 2016, Snapchat launched Spectacles. Snapchat’s Spectacles are designed liked sunglasses and are used to capture first-person perspective video that uploads directly to the users My Story. After a full year on the market, tech experts and pundits agree that Snapchat’s Spectacles are both a financial and cultural failure for the company.

With these pitfalls amongst the college demographic and Instagram’s deliberate additions of Stories, Snapchat’s time may be running out.