Is anyone actually using Facebook stories?
In the last couple weeks, Facebook rolled out its latest and greatest new feature to its mobile app: Stories!
Here’s the problem: no one uses it.
In the week since the update, I’ve seen a total of three of my nearly 1000 Facebook friends post a story update, and I think they all said ‘Facebook stories are stupid.’ If you’re new to the whole ‘Stories’ game, here’s the lowdown: it’s a picture or video with some kind of caption or location that stays on a timeline for 24 hours before ‘disappearing’ forever.
It’s an extremely popular feature…on Snapchat and Instagram. I’ve seen plenty of people posting stories frequently across both in the days since Facebook stories launched. But when it comes to Facebook, nothing. At first, there was just a blank display next to the paper airplane for direct messages and a bubble to add to my own story, and then blank white space where friends stories would (presumably) appear.
But in the last few days, a bunch of circles popped up in my feed. I thought maybe the world had suddenly received the update and was having a heyday from it. But then I realized they were faded, kind of like the Instagram Story bubbles when you’ve watched through everything. Except here, no one had posted anything. They seemed to be bubbles for people I interacted with the most frequently on the social network. When I clicked on the bubble for my girlfriend, it simply read ‘[Girlfriend] hasn’t added to her story recently.’
It’s been like this for days.
Now obviously Facebook has nothing to lose by adding this feature. It’s a wildly popular feature on Instagram (which they own), even though Snapchat seems to remain king. But did they ever have anything to really gain? It will be hard for me to see the ads populating through that service (if they go down the road Snapchat has) if I don’t have any stories to click through.
Now the Internet’s running joke is that stories will start appearing across every app, starting with…Excel!? Yikes.
As much as I love the idea of looking at everyone’s spreadsheet data, or asking my friend list for help on what transition to use in my Powerpoint presentation, hopefully Stories to Microsoft Office isn’t happening anytime soon. But I’m sure before long, Twitter will introduce the feature as well (to the acclaim of no one) and continue pushing further and further away from making money. But that’s a different…story (Hah!).
Everyone knows social media is a copy-cat league. It always has been. But most of the time, even when people call foul on the change, they still use the service (Case in point: Instagram stories. Some of the people I follow on Instagram and Snapchat have switched to Instagram full time). But with Facebook, it’s different. There’s no one using the feature. Now, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Facebook opens up brand pages to stories, and then everything will change.
But for now, this goes to show that adding a new feature, whether it’s original or a total rip-off of your more successful competitor, needs some bit of originality.
Otherwise, you get what’s happening with Facebook stories right now: faded out Story bubbles that may never come to life.