Social media sites are quick to copy and paste features from other platforms and for the most part, familiar functionality is a convenient thing for users. The latest trend, however, is adding the ‘Stories’ feature and I’m not so convinced any of us really want it.
The ‘Stories’ feature allows users to take a short video and upload it temporarily to their profiles for a limited period of time — usually 24 hours. Snapchat was the first major social media platform to introduce this feature back in 2013 and it was pretty popular. Instead of consciously sending videos to specific friends on the platform, you could cast a wide net letting everyone see your videos, including strangers and acquaintances you had on your list.
But as Snapchat dwindled in popularity, other sites like Instagram decided to introduce it to their platform. In 2016, Instagram launched its own version but stuck with referring to it as the ‘Stories’ feature.
It was a huge success for Instagram. Not everyone is married to the idea of permanently uploading their live’s vignettes to their profile so the ‘Stories’ feature provides a compromise — let your followers know you’re doing something cool but only for brief period of time.
But then Facebook joined too. Being the owner of Instagram, it makes sense that the social media giant wanted in on the fun and success.
The thing is I just don’t use it and few people in my un-curated Facebook friends list do. For me, I’d rather not let all these people I once knew 10 years ago know what I get up to on a daily basis and it’s a feeling many seem to share. Despite that, a report in April 2019 said the feature was used by 500 million Facebook users around the world, equal to that of Instagram. Right.
Then LinkedIn and Twitter came along
With Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat using the feature, however, the social media world was in balance. In 2020, when everything seems to be going to shit, two more platforms decided this was their moment.
LinkedIn announced it too was adding a ‘Stories’ feature to the professional networking site. Like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, users could upload a 20-second video or photo to the Stories feature, which would expire after 24 hours.
Given the platform is already a cesspool of self-congratulatory viral moments by so-called career coaches and inspirational speakers, the Stories feature for the site sounds insufferable. I’m sure there are people who will use it in smart and useful ways but there are also those that won’t.
Twitter too has been experimenting with adding the feature it’ll call ‘Fleets’. It’s already known as The Bad Site, where terrible hot takes are a plenty, so a ‘Stories’ feature only serves to further cement that. This feature’s primary focus is on writing ‘fleeting’ thoughts but like other sites, you’ll be able to add videos, photos and GIFs to it if it’s properly introduced.
They added Twitter Stories? Time to get off this app pic.twitter.com/hWPGdb9fbG— RJ⁷⁹ (@19rjss) June 22, 2020
Posting brunch shots on LinkedIn is probably not the idea
We use each site for different reasons. Some prefer Facebook or Instagram to be more personal while LinkedIn and Twitter are reserved for a more public persona. Others couldn’t care less at all and they’re the ones that will likely welcome the news.
For Twitter and LinkedIn, the purpose of the site is show your persona to the internet. Stories, instead, are meant to be a more private medium, offering followers a chance to interact with you in direct messages (DMs). Given you probably won’t upload your brunch or travel shots to LinkedIn for your ex-colleagues and work acquaintances to see, it’s not really clear how people will use it beyond self-promotional and corporate videos. For Twitter, it’ll probably be reserved for more controversial hot takes but how people respond to them will be hidden away in DMs.
Maybe it doesn’t matter at all but I do wonder if we really need to add the damn feature to every social media site we inhibit? The fleeting 2017 meme was right after all — soon everything will have Stories.
If you think you’ll use the upcoming Stories features, let us know in the comments below.