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Instagram Stories vs Snapchat

http://fortune.com/2017/08/02/instagram-stories-snap/

This article discusses the rise in popularity of Instagram’s relatively new story feature and how it creates competition for Snapchat. A year after adding the story feature, which allows users to post a snapshot of a moment that their followers can see for 24 hours before it disappears, Instagram released users stats for their app which showed an increase in popularity. Users under the age of 25 spend an average of over 32 minutes a day on Instagram, displaying the app’s large following among young people. The new story feature proved to be popular among businesses; over half of businesses on Instagram have posted at least one story in the past month alone.

The use of Instagram stories can be described using some concepts about information cascades and diffusion thresholds we have learned in class. Since Instagram already had a large amount of users prior to introducing stories, many of these users were eager to try out the new feature, so gaining the initial users was not difficult. Once stories already had some popularity, users could decide whether they wanted to go with the crowd and start using this feature. Two reasons described in class for why people tend to follow the crowd and copy popular decisions are information based and direct benefit reasons. An example of information based reasoning for starting to use Instagram stories is that a potential user could assume that other users have some information unknown to them and that’s why they’re using Instagram stories, so therefore they want to try it out themselves. A direct benefit reason would be that it would allow the user to easily share their posts with a large amount of people which they previously may have been unable to do. The large number of users of stories would mean that if a new user started using stories to share information, it would reach a large amount of people.

Users deciding whether to switch to Instagram stories from Snapchat can potentially be described using a diffusion threshold model. If the percentage of a person’s friends all switch to Instagram stories instead of Snapchat, that user would then switch themselves because that switch would benefit them more. This explains why the more users start using a social media app, its popularity begins to increase at an even faster rate than before.

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