I love to share photos with my friends, but I'm often faced with a difficult choice: Do I upload to Instagram or Kakao Story? For my friends in the U.S., Instagram is the way to go. For my friends in Korea, it's Kakao Story, no questions asked.
So how does Korea's number one photo-sharing app stack up to the American competition? Read on to find out.
Kakao Story was first launched in March 2010. It's connected to the Kakao Talk app, which was the driving force behind Kakao Story's explosive popularity. The app reached 8 million users within four months of its launch and is now in the pockets of 28 million users in Korea and abroad – Kakao Story is available in both English and Korean.
Instagram came a little later, having launched in October 2010. Facebook's acquisition of Instagram helped push the previously iPhone-only app to new limits. Today, it boasts over 80 million users. Instagram shows up in the language your device is set to as a translated version.
As both are connected to other platforms, you can directly "import" your contacts and friends into these photo apps.
User Interface and Design
The user profile is probably the biggest difference between the two apps. Where in Instagram, there is a small thumbnail with your photo, in Kakao Story, your photos show up similarly to how a Facebook profile would look. However, Instagram has more options for the profile; you can view your photos in a thumbnail gallery or as a "feed" similar to what you would see on a Facebook timeline. The profile also features a photo map that can be linked to all your Instagram photos so that your followers can see where these photos were taken place. Both user interfaces are easy and intuitive.
Instagram has a very easy sharing page once the photo is uploaded. You can chose from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Email, Flickr and Foursquare. It doesn't appear as though Kakao Story photos can be shared to other platforms. That may be on purpose because of Kakao Talk's huge influence and user base in Asia.
As for "tagging" friends, with Instagram you can include your friends in the comments section by typing "@" and your friend's username. With Kakao Story, you can't tag your friends, but you can "clip" them, which leaves a note as an alert on their profile, flagging the photo.
The social functions are a bit different with the two, as Instagram has more sharing options but Kakao Story is quicker in tagging your friends.
Filters are what rocketed Instagram to stardom. Suddenly there were all these professional-looking photos all at the tap of a finger! Both Instagram and Kakao Story offer a variety of filters, but Instagram has has twice as many as Kakao Story.
On Instagram, your followers can interact with your photos by giving you a heart or by leaving a comment right under the photo and you can get other friends involved in the conversation by directly tagging them. On Kakao Story, you have to tap the photo in order to leave a comment, but there is a wider variety of emoticons you can leave – Like, Cool, Happy, Sad and Cheer. However, you can't tag other friends within your comments.
Kakao Story has two features that Instagram doesn't – one involves privacy settings and the other is a "note" function. With each photo upload, you can choose whether or not it will be public or private. The note function is basically a text post without a photo. Since Kakao Story has this note function, it also serves as a mini mobile blog.
In addition to the photo map, Instagram is set apart from Kakao Story in that it has a hashtag function that helps to categorize your photos and makes it easy to find photos with the same tag from other users.
Though there are many similarities between the two apps, they do each have their own personalities and pros/cons. I wish the two could combine their best sides to make one app (maybe we could call it InstaStory) Alas, since I can't pick a definite side, I'm going to have to keep uploading to both!
About the author by Donna Choi
Born and raised in the States, I came to Seoul in 2009 and have loved living and working in such a high-tech and connected city ever since. I enjoy collecting unique, cute gadgets/items (I have a bread-scented smartphone case!) and traveling around Korea. My personal mission while living in Korea: Try every type of Korean food known to exist.
- Follow @advancedtechkr Twitter
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