My Nieces School Me On Instagram's Success

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting my wife’s three young nieces. Along with an at-home “facial” and too many pop-culture references to count, they gave me a front-row seat to the social proclivities of 13- to 17-year-olds. In their behavior, of course, lay the fortunes of tech giants.

By my reckoning, their time and interest was evenly split between Snapchat and Instagram. Honestly, I don’t think they made a single mention of Facebook or Twitter -- except for 13-year-old Kate saying how she didn’t “get” the latter.

For sure, with its face-altering filters, Snapchat elicited more giggles and a general sense of excitement. But, these young ladies were no less eager to post pictures to Instagram.

Moreover, it was clear that the two apps -- Instagram and Snapchat -- serve very different functions in the socially saturated lives of my step-nieces.

For them, Snapchat was more about fun and spontaneous interactions with friends, while Instagram had more to do with designing their evolving individual and social personas. Both apps seem to have secured a prominent place in their respective lives. 

Based on this experience, I was hardly surprised to learn this week that Instagram is holding its own against Snapchat and other social rivals.

In fact, the Facebook unit has officially surpassed more than 500 million monthly active users -- more than 300 million of whom use the app daily. (To be clear, only about 100 million of those monthly active users live stateside.)

Still, the new figures mean that Instagram’s monthly user base more than doubled over the past two years, and it added its last 100 million active users faster than the previous 100 million.

On average, meanwhile, Instagram now sees about 95 million photos and videos shared per day, and about 4.2 billion” likes” per day.

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