Facebook launched their Facebook Stories feature on March 28th. Since then, my eyes have officially rolled further back into my head than I ever thought possible.
When I saw the update I immediately found myself thinking Why Facebook, why? Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram stories. Since Facebook owns Instagram, I can’t say I was completely surprised.
When Snapchat first came out with their Snapchat Stories feature I thought it was redundant and completely against what I believed Snapchat was all about. I thought Snapchat was for sending personal photos, for 10 seconds or less. The whole point of getting Snapchat was that it was private. Why would I want to publicize that embarrassing selfie to my entire story? If I wanted everyone on my Snapchat contact list to get that selfie, couldn’t I just send it to literally everyone on my contact list? Why does it need to be displayed for 24 hours?
But alas, people fell for Snapchat stories hard and I quickly followed suit. However, when Instagram Stories came out this past August, I immediately became a fan. If Facebook still had their “Become a Fan” buttons, I’d become the first fan for Instagram Stories in a heartbeat.
Instagram stories just makes sense. As Instagram is a public app, unless you make your account private of course, Instagram is a much easier platform to follow your favorite brands, celebrities and influencers. Brands such as @freepeople, @starbucks, @purebarre, @francescas and much more have used Instagram to share images that reflect the lifestyle of their brand & consumer as well as create a unique personality for the brand while showing off their product or service. It’s as if you’re following another close friend that just happens to have the prettiest and cleanest house to take pictures of all of her perfect agendas, tumblers and yoga leggings.
I joined Facebook in 2007 – 13 going on 14. In the last ten years I have seen Facebook change from statuses with a mandatory “is” after your name to adding cover photos and now Facebook stories. Facebook, to me, has never been about building a brand. Facebook is about building and maintaining friendships. Facebook is the window you leave open for your friends to see into your world. Facebook has always been a platform encouraging new and existing friendships as well as sharing photos to tell your stories and show off your latest adventures.
One thing I’ve noticed over the last ten years is the decrease of the need to post a Facebook status. My statuses in 2007 often said the basic “Lexi is at the mall”, “Lexi is sick of homework” and of course, the obnoxious “Lexi is I love my boyfriend <3333333”. (Yes, I’m guilty and I am reminded of how annoying I was by my friends and my Timehop quite frequently.)
Today, what even is a Facebook status anymore? My newsfeed is now filled with shared stories, sometimes accompanied with a user’s opinion of the story or what is going on in the world (cough cough the 2016 election cough cough).
Facebook’s user generated content has decreased. As I read on a recent Buffer blog post, many of its users are no longer creating their own content, instead opting to share links and information from other websites. Bloomberg reports, Facebook Inc. is working to combat a decline in people sharing original, personal content, the fuel that helps power the money machine at the heart of its social network, according to people familiar with the matter.
It all makes sense. I just don’t agree.
Facebook Stories has been with us for almost a month now. Out of all my 1,136 Facebook friends (a number I try to shrink every day) I have maybe two Facebook friends who use Facebook Stories on a semi-regular basis. A week after Facebook Stories launched, they decided to turn all our friends into ghosts on the top of our homepage to further entice us to share stories with our friends. Spooky.
Will Facebook Stories take off? Are they just a late bloomer? Only time will tell. Looking at the time we’ve already had with the new feature, I’d say Facebook has a lot of long nights ahead to get their stories at the same user level as Instagram and the OG of all social media stories, Snapchat.