Of all the social networking sites they use, some Howard University students narrowed their favorites down to just two: Twitter and Instagram.
“I like Instagram because the pictures are interesting and keep me entertained when I’m bored,” said sophomore Breanna Smith.
Students like Smith consider Instagram a fun and quick way to share their lives with friends through a series of pictures. They can take pictures on mobile phones and upload them immediately. Instagram allows its users to edit their pictures, add captions and do all sorts of fun things.
Freshman Matthew Wilson agrees. “I love cameras, taking pictures and looking at other’s photos so Instagram is perfect for me.”
Other students did not care for the main picture feature of Instagram. Sophomore Kayla Bishop prefers Twitter, the micro-blogging network that connects its users with the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news in 140 characters or less.
“I like the simplicity of Twitter, because it is much easier than the other social networks,” Bishop said. “I get updates on what’s going on, communicate and can post pictures so it’s the best of both worlds.”
The students’ preferences mirror what’s going on nationally among young people.
According to a ComScore report on mobile app daily engagement, Instagram averaged 7.3 million users a day in August against Twitter’s 6.87 million users a day.
“From what students have told me, a lot of them prefer Twitter because that’s where they get their news from, and Instagram doesn’t really give off news,” said Ingrid Sturgis, assistant professor of new media at Howard University.
Facebook recently bought Instagram for $2 billion. Instagram was one of Facebook’s leading competitors. Experian Hitwise, a consumer behavior research group, conducted studies to explain why that is. The study shows that Instagram users are much younger compared to other social networks such as Facebook, and therefore it is growing at a fast pace and attracts younger users. According to the Pew Research Center, 12 percent of online adults say they use Instagram in comparison to the 27 percent of teens who use it.
“The audience for Instagram is relatively young, with over half of the visitors to the Instagram website being under the age of 35,” research director at Hitwise Heather Dougherty writes in the study.
Sturgis, expert on social media, gave her insight on social network sites and what impact she feels it has on media. “Social media has a powerful pull on where the people are engaging today,” she explained. “News media wants to be where the people are and the social networking sites are where they are.”
Junior Sasha Campbell said that social networking has a large impact on her and her peers. “A lot of people get news and updates from social networks, use it to communicate with friends, and it has become a vital part of our lives.”