If you have a sneaking suspicion that Instagram Stories is basically just Snapchat, don't worry — a lot of people feel that way. At first blush the two are definitely twinning, but once you've spent some time toggling back and forth between the two, a few key differences emerge. And yes — believe it or not, it's all legal for Instagram to take a cue (or many, many cues) from Snapchat.
Instagram has been around since 2010, and Snapchat hit the scene in 2012. At first, the two weren't really competing because they had two very distinct social media appeals: Instagram was definitely the place for photography, and Snapchat behaved more like a visual Twitter. Then, around the time that Snapchat came about, Facebook acquired Instagram for about $1 billion. Facebook, the social media platform constantly competing with everyone, immediately started to up Instagram's game. Now, Instagram is trying to assimilate the unique concept of Snapchat into its pre-existing structure, while keeping the feel of Instagram intact.
Whether Instagram has plans to add additional Snapchat-esque features we don't know, but in the mean time, the things that Instagram Stories lacks are kind of what set it apart — and a few cool features that are probably gonna make Snapchat want to step up its filter game to stay relevant. Might I suggest a "Pokemon Go" plugin?
Instagram Doesn't Have Dog Filters :(
Or any of those types of filters, actually. Snapchat uses (vaguely creepy) face recognition software to let you transform yourself into a dog, or an alien, or a slice of bread, or Sia that one time; but Instagram doesn't seem to have that capability. Yet, anyway.
Instagram has always been more about its aesthetic filters, though.
But Instagram Does Have More Color Filters
Instagram is definitely known for its filters – so much so that not using one at all grants you the exclusive right to #nofilter. And while Snapchat gives you 4 different colored filters (including black and white) in addition to those fun, live-action filters, Instagram naturally offers a few more.
The entire Instagram filter repertoire is intense: there are almost 30 total. With Instagram Stories, you can use six of them. It's not that many more than Snapchat's, but they do have a very Instagram feel (you know, with names like "gingham" and "walden").
Instagram Stories Doesn't Reward You With Badges
I mean, my incentive to get into Snapchat was basically my competitive nature wanting to rack up an impressive streak and earn trophies. Instagram Stories provides no such gold star for regularly posting. Which makes sense: Stories is just an extension of what the social media platform's main focus is — photos — and you could use Instagram without ever dallying in Stories.
Whereas for Snapchat — well, the entire platform is built on the concept of snapping, so if that's not your thing, you don't have to download the app.
If You Screenshot Someone's Instagram Story, They Won't Know
OK so this MIGHT be the biggest difference between Snapchat and Instagram Stories: on Snapchat, you can screenshot a snap so it lives on forever, beyond the inherently temporary nature of snaps BUT the person who snapped it will be able to see that you took a screenshot.
According to Eve Peyser over at Gizmodo, if you take a screenshot of an Instagram Story, the user won't know that you did. This could be a huge privacy problem. One of the reasons Snapchat tells you who took a screenshot of your Snaps is so that, later on down the line, if those snaps are used, like, for blackmail or something, you'd know who had a copy.
With Instagram Stories, unless this bug gets fixed ASAP, you have no idea who is saving those "temporary" pictures. So use caution.
Oh, and if there is someone you don't want to be able to see your story, you can change your privacy settings.
At Least Snapchat Lets You Mute Stuff
It might seem kind of minor, but so far, it doesn't look like you can mute Instagram Stories. So, if you want to flip through them, maybe make sure you aren't at your desk trying to be stealthy, or hovering over your baby's crib during nap time. Chances are we're all going to at least have one moment where utter chaos erupts from our phone at full-blast until Instagram decides to offer either a mute or unfollow option.
Instagram Stories Gives You More Drawing Options
Can you say cool metallic paint? Snapchat's regular old dull paint options are looking pretty lame in comparison to all the different colors and styles you can choose on Instagram Stories. Because if I'm going to go to the trouble to draw eyebrows on my dog, shouldn't they at least be a neon ones?
Instagram Stories Is Actually Super Easy To Use
Snapchat can be kind of clunky and it's really intimidating to those who are not so technologically savvy. But Instagram basically took Snapchat's concept and made it a little more intuitive. Like, don't be surprised if your grandma figures out how to use Stories in the near future. In fact, even writing this, I didn't know that you could add photos from your camera roll to Snapchat (after using the app for at least a year)— but I immediately figured out how to do that with Instagram stories.
It's also so much easier to actually find and follow people on Instagram in the first place (unless you know their username, you're outta luck on Snapchat).
But, then again, those who haven't quite taken to Stories will happily provide you with their Snapchat name via the app. For more tips, follow Romper on Instagram at romperdotcom or Romper on Snapchat at romperdotcom.