As of September 2015, Instagram has over 400 million active users. Last December it had 300 million active users. While Facebook remains the most popular social media site, Instagram is rapidly closing the gap, especially for the younger  generation, and this is no exception for Palo Alto High School’s freshman class.

In a Verde survey of 179 Paly students, over 47.4 percent of freshman claim to use Instagram most often, while only 7.89 percent use Facebook. On the other hand, 51.35 percent of seniors claim to use Facebook most often while only 5.54 percent responded with Instagram. Clearly, there is a gap between the freshman and senior classes in terms of social media usage. Freshman Shannon Zhao states that  her choice is simply from preference.

“Maybe it’s a generation thing, but even if I was born earlier I think I would still like Instagram better [than Facebook],” Zhao says. “Instagram has better privacy settings and is more user-friendly, with less complications.”

During freshman class elections, Zhao opted to create a Instagram campaign page when she ran for vice president instead of a Facebook one.

“Because all the people that I was reaching out to had Instagram and not Facebook, I decided to make an Instagram page,” Zhao says.

To senior Ren Makino, Instagram offers a less cluttered user interface than Facebook, making it simpler to view one’s past memories.

“My Facebook is filled with junk like 15 posts about how Japan beat South Africa in rugby,” Makino says. “I am socially pressured to post less on Instagram [which] therefore leaves me with something nice to look back at.”

Junior Lindsey Chen argues Facebook and Instagram each have their tradeoffs.

“It is easier to talk to others on Facebook because of the format of the website. There are often Facebook groups for school or events,” Chen says. “Instagram only has images running down its feed and people can share their pictures with people and have many people see it.”

This image-based format could highlight our generation’s shift from information-based social media to more image-centered social media sites.

Chen uses Instagram’s popularity among artists to discover art and photography accounts. The most important part of Instagram for her is posting and sharing images on her account, which has 150,000 followers.

“I enjoy Instagram over Facebook because I can communicate with a larger amount of people better on Instagram and I enjoy the feed of the people who I follow,” Chen says. “I like to discover different art and photography accounts.”

As more of the younger generation like the one at Paly begins using Instagram, this image-based platform could very well replace Facebook’s coveted position as the top social media site.