Every Insta Story is boring and not funny at all…

A few weeks ago, Instagram debuted Instagram Stories, a blatant rip-off of Snapchat’s own Stories feature. The two services are almost identical in execution, however…

My workmate and prolific Snapchatter Sara Phillips recently tweeted this and it got me thinking… why?

I don’t really get Snapchat myself, but I have some thoughts. It comes down to three things… context, network and familiarity.

1. Context

On Instagram, people are used to seeing and posting carefully curated photos of an idealised life. The people most active on the platform have been conditioned to use Instagram in this way. So when they start using Instagram Stories, they approach it in much the same way — trying to present a sanitised, perfect view of themselves.

In contrast, right from the beginning Snapchat has been about capturing spontaneous real-life moments. Snapchatters are used to sharing their lives in a raw, unfiltered way.

2. Network

Because of Instagram’s close ties to Facebook and more mainstream presence, along with Snapchat’s lack of user discovery tools, people usually have more followers on Instagram. Thanks to Facebook, a lot of these followers are more likely to be known to the Instagrammer in real life. Knowing your stories may be seen by parents, former colleagues and old school pals you haven’t seen in ten years is likely to have an inhibiting effect on your posts.

In Snapchat though, even though it is possible these same people could find your posts it’s less likely, due to the demographic makeup of Snapchat users and the lack of user discovery tools. It’s also less likely to be a one-way communication. The people who are viewing your embarrassing posts are probably posting similar things. As such, it may feel like a safer place than Instagram, which likely contains a lot more ‘lurkers’.

3. Familiarity

Snapchat has been doing Stories for almost three years now. That means that Snapchatters have had a long time to figure out what works and what doesn’t in terms of generating engagement. They have had time to refine their art and for many, it is probably now instinctual on how to generate compelling content.

For Instagrammers not already familiar with Snapchat, that entire learning curve is just beginning. It is akin to the early days of Instagram when all anybody ever posted were photos of their meals.


For Instagram Stories to really take off and become a true threat to Snapchat, these three factors all need to be overcome. To me, Familiarity seems like the easiest to overcome. All it takes is time. However, there are bigger question-marks over the other two. Will Instagrammers be able to change their mindset, and will they have the courage to post more daring content, knowing the less than intimate audience that might see it?

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