In 2017, there are two types of people. People who are buddies with the dancing ghost, and people who are in love with Facebook’s sister. With Snapchat and Instagram competing so valiantly against one another, what makes a person prefer one platform over the other?

Swarmer’s Allie and Conor give their perspective on which platform they prefer and why it deserves to be the No. 1 app for everyone’s thumbs.

Allie and Conor, which platform do you prefer and why?

Allie: Instagram has always been my favorite platform. In college, I majored in photojournalism, so I’ve always been partial to a platform that heavily relies on visuals. As a fan of sarcasm, puns and wittiness, a person who has A+ photos and on-point captions is a winner in my book. It has basically everything I need and want on a social media platform.

Conor: Now, don’t get me wrong, Instagram is great for people who love scrolling through hundreds of pictures, testing the limits of their thumb pressing abilities and love high-quality photos. But for everyone else that isn’t a savvy photographer (I’m jealous of your skills, Allie) and loves laughing at content that’s not stolen directly from Reddit, Snapchat is there. Snapchat is just so much more personal than Instagram and it always has been, that’s partly why Instagram loves cherry picking from Snapchat.

Which features of your chosen platform are your favorite and why?

A: I like that people can choose between posting a photo that stays forever or is just a quick blip in an Instagram Story. Snapchat is too temporary/transient for me. I also like that you can save other people’s photos in the app and create collections. This has been so helpful when saving home decor ideas, wedding inspirations, dream travel spots and more. My saved collection is almost like a mini Pinterest board!

I could really go on and on about the Instagram features that I like because there are THAT many. It might be because I’m a Social Media Manager, but I adore having so many features in one place. The less clicking and closing I have to do, the better.

C: First and foremost, it has to be the filters. Snapchat turned the game upside down when it dropped those babies on us and changed how we communicate. Who doesn’t want to transpose themselves on to a panda swinging from a Eucalyptus tree with the sweet sweet sounds of the Bee Gee’s hit song “Staying Alive” playing in the background? Anyone? Just me? Alright moving on.

The second reason has to be the stories, specifically sponsored stories (WHICH INSTAGRAM STOLE MIGHT I ADD). In today’s world, so many people don’t have time to sit down and read a newspaper or scroll through every page of their favorite news websites. Snapchat sponsored stories give you a high-level overview of all the big-hitting events of the past couple days. There’s also the event stories. Whether it’s big sporting events or a parade, Snapchat gives users the abilities to aggregate all their great snaps and share it with everyone not at the event so they can feel like they’re there.

Why do you think some people are so adamantly one platform versus the other?

A: I think it all comes down to personal preference and why you’re on social media to begin with. For my personal life, I love that I can announce special events, celebrate friends and family, take quick videos and photos, add in geo-filters and emoji stickers and search the world by hashtag, all in one place! Snapchat allows you to do that as well, I’m just not a fan of the time limit.

Snapchat’s newest feature, Maps, is creepy AF to me. So yet another reason I’m not a huge fan of the ghost.

Side rant – If I’m going to watch your story on either platform, I want to know how long it is without having to click 7,000 times to get to the end of it. 5 points to Instagram for giving me the rundown from the get-go.

C: I think people like Instagram because it’s a form of validation. There’s such an emphasis on the number of likes people get, it’s almost a form of currency to some people. Back in college there was a guy in our friend group who was obsessed with his Instagram. He sent a message in our group chat asking if we had all liked his photo yet so he could get to 100 likes…..ARE YOU KIDDING ME! It’s that type of mentality that turns people off from Instagram. But hey, like the social media guru said before, it just comes down to personal preference. If you like being able to communicate with the masses then Instagram’s for you. If you like a more personal touch, then Snapchat is for you.

Allie’s right though, Snapchat maps is really creepy. But isn’t every social media a little creepy? I mean Facebook (who owns Instagram) tracks everything on you plus the kitchen sink. (Pro tip: close your social media apps if you don’t want to be tracked when you’re not using them.)

Pro/Con your app for me


Instagram Pros

  • Being able to choose if you want your photo to be there forever or 24 hours.
  • Saving photos and organizing into collections, all within the app.
  • Can catch up with friends, celebrities, family members all in one place.
  • Instagram Stories has so many options; filters, geo-tags, options (boomerang, live, paused live, rewind, hands-free), all the different types of pens you can draw with, saving a photo directly to your phone instead of “Memories”.
  • Scrolling through the feed is like flipping through a magazine of your friends. I feel like the quality of content is much higher on Instagram than it is on many other platforms.
  • This is going to sound so creepy, but it’s a real thing. On Instagram, you can look at people’s content and they don’t have to know that you did. If you look at someone’s Snapchat story, you basically get called out for looking at their content. Instagram, the only way people know who see’s what is if you like it or view their story.
  • IG is so user-friendly. Unlike Snapchat, who had to include a step-by-step guide for how to use the platform in its SEC paperwork for potential investors, Instagram is so easy, even your 98-year-old Grandma can use the app with ease.

Instagram Cons

  • My biggest pet peeve with Insta is that you have to commit to scrolling in order to catch up on your feed. If you haven’t been on Instagram all day and follow a lot of people, you’ve got to dedicate 10 minutes to catch up, and good luck if you close your phone because then you’re back at ground zero.
  • Private profiles always irk me, but that’s a capability for all social media, so can’t blame IG for that!

C: Where’s my panda at???

Snapchat Pros

  • Stories function has changed how we share content with friends. So much so that Instagram decided to steal the concept.
  • Snapchat just signed a $100 million deal with Time Warner to create original shows for Snapchat. Have you noticed the revival of MTV Cribs on Snapchat? Well imagine that, but with something completely original. How long till Instagram steals that idea?
  • Filters. I’m not talking about the #nofilter type of filters, but yup you guessed it, panda filters. Now I know I love the panda filter but there are so many other great ones to use. The best part, new ones are coming out almost every week and there are even special event filters to promote different movies coming out.
  • You can also now search for different event stories that are near you, by category. For example, you can look at different stories for bars, parks, festivals and even events that aren’t even in the same city. Pretty cool stuff.
  • Because Snaps only last for a few seconds, it grabs a user’s attention and creates a sense of urgency. You could put the same content on Instagram, and someone would scroll right past it because there’s no real need to pause.
  • Also, let’s not forget the beauty that made Snapchat what it is. Messages that are temporary. It’s just like a bus: if you missed it, it’s gone. However, this bus driver isn’t Chris Farley from Billy Madison, it’s more like Ms. Fizzle from the Magic School Bus. If you didn’t catch the whole snap, don’t worry, you can replay it one more time.
  • Ah, my new favorite. You can create your own permanent group snap stories. When I say permanent, I mean the group stays forever, not the content. Same rules apply to regular stories. This function is great because it’s like your own personal snap party. Everyone you invite to add to the story can throw a snap or two in there to share. whether your friend was at a restaurant eating something delicious and wanted to make you jealous, or someone captured one of your friends being dumb and needed everyone in the group to see it (my personal favorite).

Snapchat Cons

  • Snapchat loves killing my battery and I’m guessing yours too.
  • The maps feature. That kills me. Yes, you can turn it off, but isn’t it already evident that social media platforms are tracking us? Just don’t shove it in our faces like that. Let me enjoy my panda filters in peace….
  • I currently have only a few sponsored stories I subscribe to, so I would love to have more variety with those

Snapchat vs Instagram venn diagram

What is a dream feature that you would love to be added to your app?

A: At the risk of sounding like I want Instagram to copy Snapchat again, I will say that it would be sweet if the Gram offered more news info. It would be sa-weet to get all of the news organizations IG Stories wrapped up into one story so I could click once and ba-da-boom ba-da-bing, The Skimm is brought to life visually by all the news organizations!

C: Gamified filters. How fun would it be if you could play games with friends through a filter? Golden Tee anyone?

I’m still not sure which platform has my heart…give me an elevator pitch for your app.

A: Instagram is the friend you can almost always rely on to keep you updated, laughing and inspired, whereas Snapchat is the flakey friend who when they show up, you can usually count on a good time, but more often than not, they’re not that great. Yet another reason why the ghost is the perfect icon for Snapchat.

C: Instagram is the friend that you see out one night, talk to for five minutes and then go about your separate ways. Snapchat is the friend you can rely on to bring over a six-pack and listen to how bad your week’s been. Who would you rather have in your corner?

We’ve battled it out. Which team do you side with?