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Instagram versus Snapchat: Self-expression and privacy concern on social media

With the increasing popularity of image-based social networking applications (apps), such as Snapchat and Instagram, social media users express multifaceted aspects of their self-concept online, while remaining concerned about privacy issues. This study investigates the determinants behind the choice to use a social networking site (SNS) platform and predicts that the type of self an individual wants to express through the platform and their level of privacy concerns will play an important role in this choice. A total of 547 SNS users completed an online survey. Expression of multiple aspects of the self – true, actual, and ideal self – and online privacy concerns were empirically tested as the key determinants of SNS platform choice. The findings show that the expression of true and actual self are significant determinants for using Snapchat as a primary SNS, whereas the expression of ideal self and greater privacy concerns are associated with active Instagram use. The authors discuss the implications of these findings and recommend future research.

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