As Instagram continues to focus on video, Generation Z are posting their photos on TikTok instead. Could Instagram lose out on both formats?
TikTok’s domination in short-form video is not the only thing Instagram should be worried about. In the time that Instagram has shifted ever further away from its roots as a photo-sharing app, Generation Z has found a new space to post their selfies and photo-dumps — and that’s TikTok.
As Instagram pushes full-steam ahead with its plan to focus on short-form video, TikTok has gradually become the app of choice for younger users to spill the contents of their camera roll.
Whereas once Instagram was a breeding ground for the latest photo trend, that space seems to be increasingly taken up by TikTok. In October last year, Mashable reported on the growing trend for Generation Z users to post their photo dumps on TikTok, rather than Instagram.
The TikTok iteration of a photo dump is similar to Instagram photo dumps but not limited to ten pictures. TikTok users can select as many images from their camera roll as they want and then edit the collection of images — either on TikTok itself or on an external mobile video editor like Splice — to curate a rapid video of their best moments in photographs.
On Tiktok, the tag #photodump currently boasts 1.6 billion views, while Instagram has 1.8 million posts for the same hashtag.
With Instagram prioritizing Reels over stills, the world’s biggest photo-sharing app no longer promises the same level of engagement for images it once did and so younger users are turning to TikTok instead. In turn, this has spawned several other photo trends on TikTok that are unique to the app.
A trend, dating back to March 2021, encourages TikTok users to post the last 10 photos they saved on their phones — while the more recent #last5photos trend asks them to only share the last five images on the camera roll.
Meanwhile, the #27photochallenge trend invites TikTok users to add 27 of the best photographs they have taken and make it sync to a sound by the band Harmless. This challenge has over 32.4 million views and appears to be popular with younger users as well as professional photographers on the app.
According to Bustle, the popularity of #ThePhoto on TikTok is that it’s reminiscent of the nostalgic joy of finding a great photograph of oneself in the early 2000s then posting it on Instagram or Facebook, and eagerly waiting for the likes and comments to roll in. The thrill of getting that perfect shot for social media has been re-imagined into a new trend for TikTok.
The continuing relevance of photography for Generation Z is further evident given the soaring popularity of photo-sharing app BeReal, which continues to hold onto the number one spot in the U.S. on Apple’s App Store charts — even beating TikTok.
Still photography is not the dying form Meta makes it out to be and so it is very possible that Instagram may not only lose to TikTok in terms of video but will cede photography, too.