Social media became the sensational creation that people started using through their smart phones to communicate, relay and share ideas and information. It became a platform people used to initiate immediate conversation, which caused it to rapidly rise to popularity especially among students.
In a 2014 survey at Kean University, 1,510 students filled out a survey where they were asked how many social media platforms they used within the average month. Instagram was used by 71% of 1,510 surveyed students, which meant about 1,070 students used Instagram within an average month.
Snapchat was fairly new during the year, which meant it was not as popular and there were hardly any of the features it has now.
The Facebook app was its own app during the time before it officially split between Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Facebook had 68.81%, or 1,039, of the respondents using the app. The next popular social media app was Twitter, which was used by 55.76%, or 842 students out of the 1,510.
"[With Facebook], you can see what is occurring on the other side of the world and you also get to reconnect with people you may not have seen or talk to in years," said Laura Gaviria, junior psychology major, who put down Facebook as her most popular social media.
In a 2016 survey, about 892 students filled out the similar survey. The top four popular social media apps were Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Snapchat beat Twitter by .30% for usage. Out of 100%, 18.06% of the surveyed students used Twitter and 18.36% used Snapchat. Which meant, about 8 more people were using Snapchat compared to Twitter.
In September 2015, Snapchat introduced face-altering filters, and this caused Snapchat to boom in popularity and usage. In April 2016, Snapchat increased the character limit to have 80 more characters.
Even though the surveys show that Kean students favor Instagram's never-ending ability to upload pictures with their filter and description of choice, the battle between Instagram and Snapchat has drawn a fine line between the two.
About 60 students were quickly gathered to fill out a short survey for spring 2017 to discuss their most used app and why. Out of those 60 students, 33% of students felt like Snapchat was their most used social media.
Krista Baldowski, math elementary education major, put down Snapchat as her most used social media app.
"I enjoy seeing my friend's facial expression when they take pictures and write what they want to say. I rarely use filters but if I do, it's the sunglasses filter!" exclaimed Baldowski.
Surprisingly, a higher number of people feel like they use Facebook more than Instagram now. Since Facebook and Facebook Messenger are separated, it was hard for students to decide if they use Facebook or Messenger more. A total of 17.54%, or 10 of the students, used Facebook the most while 5.26%, or three of the students, used Messenger the most.
"I really like Facebook because I always get these reminders of things that I have posted on social media, or pictures that I have shared in previous years," said Sarah Wisniewski, sophomore criminal justice major, who put that Facebook is her most used app. "It gives me something to look back at and smile."
Instagram came in tied with the Facebook app, with 10 students also feeling that Instagram is their most popular social media.
Brianna Negron, junior English and secondary education double major, said, "My favorite thing about using Snapchat or Instagram most frequently is that it's a fun and innovative way to communicate, as opposed to just using words. Sharing pictures, for Instagram, or using filters on Snapchat are fun and interactive, which I enjoy to be specific. Personally, my favorite Snapchat filter is the bunny rabbit or the nerd with glasses and braces."
Although Negron expressed her opinion about Snapchat and Instagram, she put that her most used social media platform is YouTube.
In the survey, there were many social media platforms presented as choices. While Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and YouTube were used by a majority, there were students who also used Tumblr, WhatsApp, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Kik Messenger, WeChat, Discord and LINE.
So, think about it. With Instagram and Snapchat being similar in many aspects and features, which app is truly the most popular social media app among students? Past surveys say Instagram, but maybe times have changed?