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Twitter vs Instagram: Clash of the social media Titans

Following the recent news that Instagram now has more users than Twitter, it’s worth looking at both why this is the case and what is to come in the social networks’ battle to conquer the world.

With the explosion of the selfie this year, it makes sense that Instagram’s figures are increasing so rapidly, after all, photo is its focus, with the app now boasting 300 million users compares to  Twitter’s 284 million. Impressive stats all round.

It’s worth looking at the journey both networks have been on. Let’s go back in time; Twitter was created in July 2006 and is based on short, text based interactions. The idea is pretty simple: express yourself in 140 characters or less, choose who you follow and share and interact as you see fit.

Instagram's user numbers recently overtook Twitter's

Instagram’s user numbers recently overtook Twitter’s

Instagram was launched just four years ago, in October 2010, and it’s about showing rather than telling of your experiences. The first trend on Instagram was to take pictures of your food; with the ‘selfie’ trend booming, and it’s fair to say that Instagram has encouraged the world to snap away at every possible opportunity.

It is unclear what the reasons are behind the success of images over words but perhaps it comes back to the old adage that a picture tells a thousands of them, or more simply, can say more than words ever could. Maybe it lies in our society and the fact that the information travels faster and further every day. It is probably easier to get noticed by potential followers if you supply pictures rather than snappily constructed opinions – there are no language barriers for a start.

However, whilst Instagram has stolen a march on Twitter in terms of user numbers there is still one field when these two giants are fighting: videos. Twitter bought Vine in June 2012 whilst Instagram developed its video application in June 2013 and video continues to increase in prominence online.

It will be interesting to track user figures in the coming months and years as both networks battle for a greater share of our ever decreasing attention spans but one thing is for sure, when it comes to online content, short, snappy and visual is the way to go.


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