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Just How “Different” Are Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories?

Just how different are Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories? An interview I conducted with Instagram and Snapchat explained just that.

“What are “stories”? What are they made up of?”


Instagram: “As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.”


Snapchat: “Stories are compilations of Snaps that create a narrative and Snaps are the pictures or video messages that are taken by users and shared with their friends using the app.”


Conclusion: On both apps, “stories” are collections of the photos and videos that users take using the apps.


“How can a user navigate through other users’ stories?”


Instagram: “To see someone’s story, tap their profile picture at the top of the Feed or on their profile. When you view stories, they automatically scroll from one person’s to the next. You can tap the screen to skip to the next photo or video, or swipe right or left to skip between people’s stories. Swipe down on the screen or tap x in the top right to exit someone’s story and return to the Feed.”


Snapchat: Swipe left on the Camera screen to the Stories screen. Scroll down to Recent Updates. Tap a Snapchatter’s name to view their Story. When you finish a Story, the next one begins automatically – it’s the fastest way to catch up with your friends! If you want to skip to the next Story, simply swipe left. Tap to skip to the next Snap in a Story. If you don’t want to view a story, just swipe down to exit.”


Conclusion: “On both apps, once a person’s story finishes, the next person’s story starts up automatically afterwards, you must tap the screen to go on to the next photo or video in a story, swipe left or right to navigate between people’s stories, and swipe down if you would like to exit from a person’s story.”


“Can a user add things to the photos and videos they take using the app?”


Instagram: “You can add a filter to your photo or video by swiping left or right after taking it. By tapping several icons at the top of the screen, you can add text, add emojis, rotate and resize the text, choose a text color, draw on your photo or video, choose between different brushes, adjust the line thickness, and choose a color to draw with.”  


Snapchat: After you take a Snap, new icons will appear to let you decorate your Snap with Stickers, a caption, doodles, and more. You can also swipe right or left on the Preview screen to add colored Filters, the current time, local weather, speed overlays, or Geofilters, and more to your Snaps.”

**Even though the website doesn’t state this, based on my own use of the app, I can verify that Snapchat does allow you to add emojis, rotate and resize the text, change the text color, and draw on the photo or video a user would like to post just like Instagram does.**


Conclusion: On both apps, you can draw on the photo or video you wish to post as well as add different things to it.


“Do the photos and videos on a user’s story ever go away?”


Instagram: “Photos and videos you share to your story disappear from Feed and your profile after 24 hours.”


Snapchat: “Adding a Snap to your Story allows Snapchatters to view your Snap an unlimited number of times for 24 hours.”


Conclusion:  On both apps, photos and videos are only visible for 24 hours and then they disappear.


“Can a user tell who has seen their story? If so, how?”


Instagram: “To look at who’s seen your story, open your story and swipe up on the screen. You’ll see the number as well as the names of the people who have seen each photo or video.”



“To see who has viewed your Story:

  1. Tap the three gray dots lined up in a vertical line to the right of My Story.
  2. Tap a Snap.
  3. Swipe up on the screen to see who has viewed and screenshotted your Snap. Views are represented by the icon that’s an eye , while any detected screenshots are represented by two arrows overlapping each other(one on top points to the right, one on bottom points to the left)
  4. Swipe down to exit when you’re finished.”


** Based on my own use of the app, once you swipe up, there’s a whole list of names that pops up, which are the names of all the people that have seen your snap and at the top left corner of the screen is the total number of views and the total number of screenshots.**


Conclusion: On both apps, by swiping up on the screen of the photo or video you choose, you can how many people have seen it and who has seen it.


“Can a user comment on a person’s photo or video? If so, how?”



“When you see someone’s story, you can reply to it by sending them a message:

  1. Open the story you’d like to reply to
  2. Tap Send Message in the bottom left
  3. Type your message and then tap Send

Your message will include the photo or video you replied to.”


Snapchat: “While watching a friend’s story, just swipe up to send them a quick Chat! They’ll see your Chat, plus the Snap you’re talking about.”


Conclusion: You can comment on a person’s photo or video in their story by sending them a message that will not only include the message but the photo or video you commented on. Both apps have a way in which you can send a message to the person right from the photo or video of theirs that you’re looking at.


From this interview and my own use of both apps, I can conclude that Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories are basically identical. Yes, they do have their slight differences but their similarities outweigh their differences by a lot. Lastly, whether or not, Instagram was trying to steal Snapchat’s users (make themselves more popular and Snapchat less popular) by coming up with this new feature, it actually backfired on them. Why? Well, from my daily use of Instagram, I can say that people are primarily using Instagram Stories to get other  Instagram users that have Snapchat accounts to add them on Snapchat. So, it seems like this new feature benefits Snapchat more than it benefits Instagram.


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Just How “Different” Are Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories?