It’s no secret that Facebook wants to be the default social media platform for everyone. With Snapchat’s growing success (the company recently went public), the only option for Facebook was to copy the Snapchat concept for itself. Thus, Messenger Day, Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status, and now Facebook Stories were all born.
New Features in Facebook Stories
As though creating multiple versions of Snapchat was not enough, Facebook has now gone a step further. The original Snapchat copies used the same concept of sending pictures that disappear after a few seconds or creating series of photos that lasted for 24 hours.
Facebook Stories, however, incorporates other features found on Snapchat — in particular, the ability to send pictures from your camera roll to your friends, and the ability to add effects to photos. The only real differences between Snapchat and Stories are the types of filters, masks, and frames Facebook offers, such as the branded filters from movies.
Improvements on the Original
In a way, Facebook improves on the Snapchat idea by enhancing usability. The Snapchat app is known for being complex, with its numerous buttons and features. In contrast, Stories is simple to use, although arguably a little basic — which is in keeping with the Facebook brand image.
Implications for “Snapping” on Facebook
Facebook is one of the most popular ways to communicate online. Previously there was no structured way to have conversations through photos. Users could only message friends using text and status updates. Now, when users access the Facebook app or website, they will see a row of circles above their news ‘feed representing their friends’ Stories. Given time, this feature could become as central to the platform as status updates.
Bad News for Snapchat
Snapchat is built around a single idea, whereas Facebook is large and all-encompassing. Even if a small percentage of users utilize Stories, this could have a big impact on Snapchat. Facebook has a diverse user base. Snapchat is still struggling to expand its audience beyond teens and users in their early 20s.
Furthermore, Stories could draw advertisers away from Snapchat. This will be especially problematic when Facebook incorporates advertising into Stories. There is no news as to how Facebook intends to include advertising. However, considering ads are present almost everywhere else on the platform, it is almost certain that this is on the agenda.
How Will Stories Change Facebook?
Facebook is constantly evolving, more to keep current users on the platform than to draw in new ones. As users’ networks grow to include people like relatives and bosses, they may not want to share everything with everyone. This results in a decrease in shared content. Stories make it easier to share with just a select group of people. Facebook hopes this will encourage users to continue utilizing the platform.
The way in which Stories will shape the social media landscape as a whole is out of Facebook’s control. This is down to the users. Just consider Facebook Live: it was supposed to replace TV but ended up becoming quite a different type of feature. It is too early to say whether Stories will be a success or a failure; whether celebrities will use it as well as regular users; and whether it works as Facebook plans or goes in a direction no one could have imagined.