Instagram Filters are Here, Is Snapchat Over? 3 Teens Weigh In

They are the true experts, after all


Instagram Stories launched selfie filters yesterday, thus ascending the final step in becoming Snapchat (but better).

There are eight initial “face filters”: Gold Crown, Koala, Nerd Glasses, Bunny, Butterfly Crown, Ice Crown, Peacock and Makeup. If any of these sound familiar, it’s because they were poached directly from that little white ghost’s fluttery fingers. (Does it strike anyone else as eerily foreboding that Snapchat’s icon is a dead spirit?)

In response to accusations of copying, an Instagram spokesperson said, “There’s a lot of exciting work being done around augmented reality. We’ve heard from our community that they want more creative ways to share everyday moments and engage with friends. With face filters, they have more tools than ever at their fingertips, and all in one place.”

It’s a dodge for sure, but I’m not super salty about Instagram copying Snapchat, mainly because Instagram Stories are just so much better. I am fully ready to declare Snapchat obsolete. I stopped using it almost entirely when Instagram Stories started rolling out vastly superior features such as the ability to pause a story or rewind. Every improvement was like aloe vera on a sunburn. Why would I go back to the regular old sunburn?

But I’m speaking from the perspective of an ancient, one who is well past puberty. The minds of teens are different. I know this because I recently asked one what websites she reads every day and she looked at my like I’d just asked her how often she voluntarily drinks expired dairy milk.

“I just click on links in my Facebook news feed or in Instagram bios,” she said. “I don’t go to websites.” That’s when I realized my daily practice of typing into my internet browser belongs in one of those corded-off displays at the Museum of Natural History.

I was immediately curious as to how teenagers would respond to Instagram Stories’ new feature, so I reached out to a few to glean fresh teen takes.

“Certain aspects of Instagram Stories, like Boomerangs, have really taken off, but I don’t think kids are forgetting Snapchat at all,” said 17-year-old Olivia. “It’s still the OG of filters, and although Instagram filters are neat and cool, Snapchat is a completely different kind of social platform. I don’t think either one will be completely forgotten! We use Instagram stories more, but we use the filters on Snapchat more. Does that make sense? We enjoy Snapping more, but if we have something we wanna share with everyone on social media, we choose Instagram stories because we like the Boomerang effect so much.”

15-year-old Caroline agrees that Snapchat isn’t going anywhere. “I use Snapchat every day and have long Snapchat streaks with at least 10 people,” she said. “My friends don’t use Insta stories at all. Snapchat stories are more casual because I follow fewer people on Snapchat. If I put something on an Insta story, I know it has to be really good because over 500 followers will see it.”

I sourced a third opinion because third teen’s the charm, right? “I think Instagram’s new filters are fine and it doesn’t really bother me that they are blatantly copying Snapchat,” said 15-year-old Luke. “I think everyone still uses Snapchat and there is no way for Instagram to completely replicate Snapchat.”

So, to conclude: The teen take on Snapchat’s fate is incredibly murky. PSYCH. Teens are so loyal these days. The subtext of their responses seems to indicate that Snapchat still has the upper hand when it comes to more intimate exchanges, while Instagram and Instagram Stories are reserved for “polished” dispatches. I’m curious how much longer that will remain the status quo, though. While relatively new compared to Snapchat, Instagram’s “direct messaging” feature performs essentially the same function in terms of tailoring your audience. Maybe it just needs a little time to catch up. At the rate Instagram Stories has been rolling out Snapchat (but better) improvements, I’m finding it harder and harder to credit the app with much staying power. But that could just be my 25-year-old cynicism talking.

Collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.

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  • Abby

    I personally think that this is the nail in the coffin for snapchat, but I’m not a youth so what do I know.

    • Harling Ross

      my thoughts and caveat exactly

      • Haley Nahman


        • Leandra Medine

          i cant blv im not a youth anymore

          • Kattigans

            Millennials are so outdated now

    • Hayley

      Agreed. My younger, teenage cousins give me these knowing looks that say “Oh, you old dinosaur, you!” if I ask them similar questions. I guess 26 is the new 86.

      • Inaat

        My thought extactly, have 15 year at my work (she works a couple of hours a week), and I feel ancient when I talk to her. In my mind I like to pretend to be an old lady full of wisdom instead instead of a dinosaur.

  • Mariam Elle Zoghbi

    I know this isn’t the correct reaction. But every time I read about Teens on MR, I feel this overwhelming need to fill my face with botox. Anyone else? No, just me?

    • Leandra Medine

      INTERESTING comment. pls come back tomorrow a scintillating, related essay

    • Cristina

      I feel similar at Harling’s “ancient” 25 years of life lol!!! #iloveharling am I too old to be reading man repeller!?

      • Harling Ross


        (and the answer to your question is a resounding NO)

  • Cristina

    Holla for IG Stories! Snapchat was weird to me. At my much more old age of 31, it was just way too much work and I like to streamline my apps cause #storagespaceprobz so that fact that I can do all that on one app is a welcome improvement!

  • BB

    Also not the correct reaction but how does a 15 year old have 500 followers?? I feel like a dinosaur.

    • Cristina

      Um.. I believe pouty Kylie Jenner style selfies get you really far in life. I would NOT know from personal experience though.

      • BB

        Did I even know 500 people when I was 15? I am always so uncomfortable with the idea of random strangers following my life, especially if I’m not Famous™.

        • I think people are increasingly comfortable with this because the content on their accounts is increasingly impersonal, and where/when personal, carefully curated for public consumption. I know that’s the case for me. If it really was raw and unfiltered you, all the time, living life, random strangers for followers would be WEIRD.

  • Meg S

    My age shows when I post to insta and not snapchat. I try and limit my apps because I can easily get consumed by my phone if I’m not careful. At work, I limited it to facebook and insta. I save snapchat and twitter for home, if i check them at all. I agree with one major point: insta is for people you don’t know, snapchat is for your friends.

  • san

    i’m 17 and for me, instagram is where you post edited pics to make yourself look cool and look at memes whereas snapchat is more about sending embarrassing selfies and saying things you don’t want screenshotted! 🙃

  • Lil

    People love snap because it’s what everyone uses to send nudes lol

    • Harling Ross

      still???? i thought that was so 2013!

      • Inaat

        Can’t believe all those kids tempted to send nudes on snap. There is still a big problem where I live with the people receiving them screenshotting and spreading them.

  • Alison

    So, this is the teacher in me, but it makes me really nervous when I hear that people just click links and likes from social media. Elections have consequences y’all.

  • Adrianna

    I only use instagram, because one social media app is enough for me. I’ve deleted FB and never got into Twitter. I use instastories over snapchat because I like to see who views my stories regularly. (Interestingly, it’s guys who called me ugly and girls who made fun of me in middle school.)

    • Cristina

      I’m always fascinated by people that don’t have FB. I’m in the marketing field, and none of the college kids even start a FB, they don’t see a need for it. But the times I’ve taken a break and told my family to text or call with updates, I get notifications that my mom has posted on my timeline. MOM CMON. Lol. I’ll just miss everything. Or would I really miss it? #thesearethedaysofourlives

      • Adrianna

        My boyfriend has teenage sisters and neither see the point of facebook. I was either an over-active user, or went through phases of deactivation. It took me several months to decide to delete it for good. I can honestly say I don’t miss it. I haven’t lost any friendships, because my friendships aren’t built on Facebook likes. It’s amazing how much mental space I’ve cleared up now that I don’t scroll through everyone’s updates and opinions about a Beyonce video.

        I realized one of the things I liked about day trips and vacations the most was feeling off the grid. It’s very indicative of the times that I can feel off the grid in NYC if I delete my social media apps.

    • lateshift

      certain industries (media, entertainment, etc) are Twitter-heavy. Others aren’t. If you’re in one of those industries, or interested in one of them – say, someone who follows the news and current events, or likes to keep track of what trends go viral, or is interested in Hollywood gossip – then Twitter is an extremely relevant tool, and you may even rely on it. If you don’t fall into one of those categories, then it isn’t, and you don’t.

      (btw, this isn’t you, but I find that people who use few or no social media apps often frame it in an unconsciously condescending way – as in, the sense that they’re above all of it, while all the proles get distracted by pointless bells and whistles. But the thing is, it’s all just a tool, like any other tool. It’s a bit like saying, “I take the R to Union Square. I never really got into using any other subway line to try going anywhere else in the city….One subway line to one station is enough for me.” I mean…ok? Whatever floats your boat, I guess. But it’s kind of an artificial distinction.)

      • Adrianna

        wow, that is a LOT of projection

        • prairie dogs

          Lol at this comment. 🙂

          I also only post on instagram (though I do have a twitter feed, I mostly use it to follow journalists I like). Instagram feels like the platform that 100% exists for my middle-of-the-generation millennial age (30). The last time I logged in to a facebook account–my workplace’s, to do some quick task– it felt like entering an extremely noisy room.

          • prairie dogs

            *extremely noisy and also really badly designed.

          • Adrianna

            “it felt like entering an extremely noisy room” is the perfect description for Facebook.

            I’m 28. My relationship with social media – blogs, Myspace, Facebook – was always a vehicle to share photos. I think back to my friends’ and classmates’ Xangas in 2004 and remember that there was very little written content and mostly mirror selfies. It makes sense we moved on to Instagram.

        • lateshift

          oh come on. you’ve got to be kidding me…20 years ago, there were people who always felt compelled to work into conversation the fact that they didn’t have a TV, or had one but only watched PBS. I don’t mean people who just didn’t do those things…there were people who constantly pointed it out. This was a means of virtue-signaling: ‘I am smarter and/or drawn to more elevated content than regular people who do watch regular TV, and I would like to make sure you know it.’ People who make a point of emphasizing the social media apps that they don’t use (no, not the people who just don’t use them, and don’t mention that fact at all…the ones who bring it up, or feel the need to regularly point out the fact that they don’t, or to say they just don’t see the use, which means there can’t possibly be a use, because if there was they would see it, which is implicitly saying that people who DO see the use must be wrong, etc) – those people are their intellectual descendants.

          That doesn’t make them bad people. But OF COURSE that’s one of the biggest reasons someone would want to spotlight their lack of involvement in a modern method of communication. Well, that, or they’re insecure about the fact they can’t figure it out, and are trying to self-rationalize away their ignorance as a virtue. Which is, of course, a thing that happens kind of a lot in this country.

          • Adrianna

            Put your phone or laptop down, and go outside

  • Inaat

    I am not a youth at my very experienced age of 25 going on 26, but I have never really used Snapchat or instastories. I get the private messaging, but I want privacy. I am a fan of insta and I like watching other people’s stories (if i’m in the mood aka bored enough), but I like scrolling and posting a pic every now and then. Does this mean I am actually 90 years old in Snapchat years?

  • Emma

    I’m 18 and I definitely deleted Snapchat when Instagram stories came out, mostly because of storage space on my phone. But I’d been wanting to for a while. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like Snapchat lowers inhibitions. You know that it’ll disappear in a few seconds, people can’t screenshot without your knowledge… I felt like I’d put up something in the spur of the moment and regret it later, but after a bunch of people had already seen it. I think that social media should be curated to some extent, you never know how what you put up on the internet may come back to haunt you later. Is this being overly cautious??

    • prairie dogs

      Short answer from a 30 year old who has sat on a lot of hiring committees in my field: no, it’s definitely not overly cautious. That shit is often forever, and there are many websites devoted to cache-ing social media presence!

  • Sarbonn

    16 year old input ~~ tbh, i’m not that wrapped up in social media. ig and snapchat are the only two forms I use, with instagram probably being the platform im more invested in. i’ve just really never found anything remotely captivating about what snapchat entails, which really just comes down to sending photo after freakin photo of yourself to anyone from your best friend to a friend of a friend of a friend who you’ve never spoken to or even met.

    it’s probably cause i never really post on my sc story to begin with, but something about ig stories just seems so bizarre to me. i like the option to post live videos, but other than that, the primary reaason i’ve noticed anyone using ig stories is to further the elevated image of themself that their actual instagram account has built the basis for.

    ALSO yes i do type into my search bar, jeez

  • Kattigans

    Teens these days make me feel so antiquated. I’m the ripe age of 25 as well and I’m slowly realizing that once I have children, if that happens, I will have virtually no understanding about anything they do, use or say. It’s like realizing how my parents probably felt but worse because the only thing that really differentiated me growing up from when they were kids is that I kinda grew up with a computer (we didn’t have one for a while and then when we got one we had dial up). I mean sheesh, I still remember going with my mom to Best Buy for her to buy an MP3 player, no not an iPod (too expensive!), but an MP3 Player. It could only hold like 3hrs of music and if you chucked it as someone’s face it could probably break their nose because it was that heavy.

  • Julia Park

    Not going to lie, I am a youth and still type in every afternoon to read the stories. Then again, I think I am a 28 year old in a 17 year old’s body as i am a teen and generally don’t get ~the teens~ and their ways

    • Alice

      Ahh, I also felt like I was a late twenties person in a teen body and now I’m 24 and doing dumb teen shit like bleaching my own hair.

      • This needs an article. I feel the same way. Could not relate to peers in teens because I felt older, now can’t relate to peers in early 20’s because I feel both older and younger (I’m sorry, I’m complex)

        Harling Darling, please bless us with a short think piece?

        • Alice

          I guess i could try and pitch an article about it, however I’m no writer.

  • I always thought Snapchat was destined for failure the moment they turned down Zuckerberg. Mark is a genius but he also strikes me as #teampetty. I always felt like once they turned him down he was going to find a way to do what they did, and do it better.

    Also IG stories totally didn’t copy snapchat. Didn’t you guys see The Social Network?! Snapchat had an idea, Mark had a better one. If Snapchat were the inventors of IG stories, they would have invented IG stories! *end scene, end sarcasm*

    • Kattigans

      Haha, this comment is amazing especially bc of the Social Network reference and team petty hashtag lol. My boyf had the same theory about snapchat after the Mark Zuckerberg incident. Mark was probably like LOL, Evan, LOL after he had his offer declined. Regardless, the original kids over at snapchat made out like bandits with cash once the company IPO’d. I bet they could not give two effs about what happens now.

    • lol @ #teampetty 🙂

  • Kay Nguyen

    I like this way better than Snapchat! I have never like Snapchat from the way it looks to functions, everything is such a mess (I sound like an old person). Instagram stores is way better <3

  • html color

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  • this article makes me LOL, mainly because its so true! (27 year old here) my little sister is 17 and she has snap streaks with soooo many people, and her friends constantly send each other snaps! She also said she feels insta stories is more for brands to post things? anyways–I’m a big advocate of the ole insta story, because snap chat is just eh for me

  • Lauren

    one second though…you can pause instastories?!

    • Alice

      Yes, just press on the story and it will be paused for as long as you hold. Took me way too long to discover that.

    • you can pause snaps too 🙂

  • Ellie

    My friend’s little sister (she’s 18) told us Instagram and Facebook are dead and the London teens are only using Snapchat 😱

  • lateshift

    “We use Instagram stories more, but we use the filters on Snapchat more.” ok…unless I’m misunderstanding here, Instagram’s selfie filters launched LESS THAN ONE DAY before this comment. I get that teens are final judges of the electronic zeitgeist, yadda yadda yadda, but I’m honestly not so sure how much weight to give that assessment. Or the expertise of someone who would make that assessment at that moment with a straight face. (I get that kids are the geniuses here, but also, [whispers] sometimes kids are, you know…not geniuses. If you know what I mean.)

  • I feel much better about having abandoned snap for IG stories now. It would seem that at 24, I’m just not the target market. IG stories is made with me and my priorities (and already preferred platform) in mind.

  • I’m 25 and it took me literally 0.infinity seconds to jump onto Instagram Stories and leave Snapchat behind (sorry, SC). I guess I prefer my Instagram feed, network and personality? I dno.

    The company I work for only use SC for Snap ads at the moment. But we use Instagram Stories for organic and sponsored content. It’s weird that I’ve managed to implement my own social media preferences into my line of work, whereby somehow shaping the entire content strategy for a social network.

    My niece, on the other hand, is 17, and LOVED Snapchat. Not sure she is going to stop using it at all. She also has this mean way of trolling everyone, inc me. I’m pretty sure all her friends are also using Snapchat on the daily I didn’t even know what a streak was until a couple of months ago. When I told her, she looked like she had been hit in the face by a basketball: ‘WHAT?! BUT YOU WORK IN SOCIAL MEDIA.’ Ugh.

  • ali syed