For many, the purposes of Instagram and Twitter could not be more different. At the time of its conception, Instagram was a single-image-only platform, filled with selfies, flat-lays and what people had for breakfast. However, the app has evolved very much in recent years; multiple photos can now be added in a single post, Instagram stories allows users to post updates throughout their day that disappear after 24 hours, similar to the much-loved Snapchat and, most recently, IGTV was created.
Arguably, IGTV is what catapulted the concept of Instagram News. Users can post up to 15 minutes of video like a news clip about almost anything: makeup, clothes, current affairs. This new capability has encouraged Instagram pages to report in-depth news to their platforms. Sources like Ladbible, VICE News and The Washington Post are now able to reach a wider audience via Instagram. With an estimated 500 million users, news outlets, both old and new, are taking to the platform.
Now, the reasons Instagram will be overtaking Twitter as the preferred social media news source are as follows:
- Instagram has over 500 million users, whereas Twitter is currently just over 330 million.
- Instagram’s main focus is simplified text and visual appeal – two things that appeal more to young audiences than a hefty newspaper or hour-long thread.
- Nearly a quarter of UK 18-24-year-olds used Instagram as a source of news about coronavirus, the arguable most pressing issue/crisis of 2020
In addition to the third point, according to a report from the BBC, just 26% of people said they trusted social media as a source of information about the virus.
It’s understandable that people are hesitant to rely on social media for honest news reporting as the internet is full of bias and opinions. On the other hand, much-loved and long-term-trusted outlets such as BBC News, The Guardian, The Sun, The New York Times and many others are racking up quite the following on Instagram. So long as we keep an eagle-eye on the sources we follow, there’s no reason that pages on Instagram that make use of appealing visuals and punchy headlines would ever be less popular than lengthy Twitter posts. In a few years, social media could be our only news source.
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