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Will TikTok Replace Instagram?

It seems as though the algorithms that Instagram is using when someone posts a photo or video do not really lead to that post having a chance to go viral nowadays.

There was MySpace, then Facebook, then Instagram, and now TikTok. It seems that TikTok is the latest social media trend and it looks like it is here to stay. Will TikTok become the dominant social media platform of our current time in 2020? Will Instagram eventually become like MySpace? In this article I will offer my own speculations.

Competition for Instagram

I feel that Instagram faces a serious challenge from TikTok in 2020. There are several reasons for this. There are reasons why TikTok is so popular. It has to do with the ease of use of the app and how simple it is to discover new content.

Social media companies understand that people want their content to be viewed by other people. Some people even have a desire to have a video go viral and be seen by a lot of people. It seems as though the algorithms that Instagram is using when someone posts a photo or video do not really lead to that post having a chance to go viral nowadays.

I have never really had large followings on social media as of this point. My perspective on this comes from someone with very few followers. When I post a photo or video on Instagram nowadays, in 2020, it does not seem to get viewed by very many people. Even if I use a lot of hash tags. I remember back in 2016, I would post a photo on Instagram of some of my synthesizers and with enough tags that photo could actually get many likes. Sometimes hundreds even though I had almost no followers. Today, you could post the same photo and hash tags and it probably will not get the same amount of likes, from my experience. This could just be because the platform has become over saturated with content as well. Or maybe people are moving away from Instagram. This is all speculation and personal experiences.

Why is TikTok So Popular?

One reason I believe TikTok is gaining popularity is because it entices people to create content by recommending somewhat random content to people as soon as you open the app via the “for you page”. This creates views, likes, and attention for the people who are creating the content. It allows content discovery in a more direct way than Instagram currently does. Instagram does have the “discover” page where you can find new content from people you do not follow, however it is not shown to you as soon as you open the app. When you open Instagram, the first thing you see is content from people you already follow, and advertisers. This reinforces the content of people who already have followings, but it does not promote smaller content creators to you as soon as you open the app, like TikTok does.

In 2020, I have posted random videos to TikTok that have been viewed thousands of times, and I’m just getting started on that platform. I’ve recently got back on Instagram in 2020 and I am trying to build up a following on there as well. I can not imagine any video I post on Instagram at this point getting thousands of views like the ones I have posted on TikTok. This is because the content discovery algorithms of Instagram are not promoting smaller content creators. Why could this be? Think about it. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, wants you to pay to have your content promoted to people. It’s a business. I’m not saying TikTok isn’t a business. It’s just that the algorithms are currently set up differently.

Instagram Wants You to Pay

So do not worry if you are not getting a lot of likes on your Instagram posts in 2020. I believe the reason is simply that Instagram is not in the business of promoting your content, unless you pay them. At least new content creators may have a chance to build up a following on TikTok because the algorithms actually seem to support up and coming content creators. Instagram on the other hand is more “pay to play”, as they say.

I’m not saying don’t create content on Instagram. For some reason though the the platform feels, to me anyways, like it could be on the way out. There seems to be more engagement on TikTok. More people commenting and communicating back and forth on the comments of posts. Instagram seems to me to be more dominated nowadays by celebrities and brands. While TikTok still seems to empower the individual small scale content creator more.

TikTok Designed for Video

Also Instagram was created during a time when video wasn’t a major or or standard feature on social media apps. I remember when videos on Instagram were first rolled out back in 2013. Smartphones weren’t as powerful back then. It was not really possible to have an app like TikTok running on phones back then as smoothly as it does today. TikTok seems to be more designed for the capabilities of modern 2020 smartphones and data connections than Instagram. Instagram may hold its place as a space for still photography as well as videos. People will always enjoy the merits of a still photograph. Since TikTok is a video only app at this point, it seems that this is one area where Instagram could hold an advantage.

I could be totally wrong and TikTok is a quick flash in the pan and Instagram will win in the long run. I don’t think that’s the case but TikTok is not without issues. It has been banned in India and also there are talks of banning it in America due to political and national security concerns.

Please let me know if you agree or disagree with any of what I’ve written here. Again, much of what I’ve written here is personal experience and speculation.

Thanks for reading this blog and have a great day!

Keep creating whatever you create.

© 2020 – Richard Gillespie