Instagram, TikTok provide users with similar experiences


Photo by Nicole Jezek

Senior Katherine Jackson observes Instagram Reels.

After being on TikTok for hours on end, you switch over to Instagram to experience a different entertainment form. When you open the app, you see videos of a similar style you recently viewed on TikTok. Instagram’s latest update, Reels, are 15-second videos on the app that have taken over the explore page, and they are similar to TikTok’s short-form, tuneful videos.

Instagram Reels are not the only aspect of Instagram that is similar to TikTok. Instagram’s explore page, where users can see new posts of people they don’t follow or view trending videos that are recommended based on the people they already follow, also has a similar setup to TikTok’s “For You” page, which allows users to find new content to watch. Senior Katherine Jackson uses both of the apps but hasn’t uploaded an Instagram Reel yet; perhaps she may never. “None of my friends use it, and to be honest, I would make fun of them if they did,” Jackson said.

TikTok videos tend to be more choreographed and are mostly of people dancing to a song. Instagram encourages its users to try different editing styles, which have been part of the update. Despite the differences, the popular TikTok videos end up on Instagram anyway, and users see a lot of the same content no matter what app they’re on. Junior Adian Caesar was optimistic about the update but was let down after discovering it. “I’ve checked it out a couple of times but never stayed more than two minutes,” Caesar said.

While Instagram’s latest update now lets users post short TikTok-style videos, the app has always allowed them to post videos that can be up to four minutes long. Several of the longer videos describe long-term projects, like the remodeling of a home or art tutorials.

It seems that the reels have been more appealing to popular creators or users with a public platform like a small business. The videos can help boost their account and connect with other users they usually would never have the chance to. The free time high school students have allowed them to try the update. Despite sophomore Harel Sabags’ optimism, he didn’t end up enjoying it. “I don’t like the update at all,” Sabag said.

Despite dancing videos being what TikTok is most well known for, the dancing videos have made their way over to Instagram now. Most of the dancing videos shown on Instagram were initially posted on TikTok. This is obvious because every TikTok video saved to the camera roll has the username in the top left corner or bottom left corner and when it is reposted on Instagram users can easily see that it was taken from TikTok. Despite the negative feedback and hate the new update is getting, it still has plenty of users posting to it and enjoying the new freedoms that come with it.