Sharing Our Stories: Facebook’s Newest Feature

Olivia Wieseler, Assitant Opinion Editor

Everybody has a story to tell.  Stories are the narratives of our lives that make up the fabric of our existence.  Without stories, we wouldn’t feel much purpose to our lives.  The way we tell stories has evolved throughout the ages, from cave paintings to oral storytelling to writing novels.  Today, social media is becoming more and more popular as a source for sharing our stories.  In fact, some social media platforms even have a feature that are specifically called “Stories”.  It all started with Snapchat when it launched the extremely popular “Stories” feature in 2013, which allows a person to post a picture for all of his or her Snapchat friends to see within twenty-four hours.  Now, Facebook has added a similar feature this spring.  Although a bit different from Snapchat’s version, the Facebook “Stories” is used through its Messenger application and allows a person to post pictures throughout the day for any friend to see.

While this legendary feature is widely enjoyed by Snapchat users, its look-alike on Facebook has many people fuming.  Very few Facebook users like this newly-added element to the social media powerhouse.  In fact, I believe I have yet to meet someone who actually is impressed with and appreciates the Facebook “Stories.”  Put another way, I have over 400 Facebook “friends” and I have only seen three different people put “Stories” on their Facebook page, and all three only used it once as far as I have seen.  My question is, why was this feature a terrible fail when Snapchat “Stories” are so incredibly popular?

It is quite obvious the motive behind this newly added feature.  Facebook is trying to compete with Snapchat.  Snapchat’s popularity continues to grow, especially among young people, while Facebook, although still growing, is losing its appeal.  As a result, Facebook turns to other social media platforms to see what’s working for them.  Snapchat’s “Stories” is one of those things.  However, that still doesn’t answer the question of why Facebook “Stories” are not just as popular as Snapchat “Stories,” or even popular at all.

I think the main issue most people have with Facebook’s new addition is the fact that it is trying to be a social media platform that it is not.  This feature is not needed to enhance Facebook.  The platform already allows the user to post about his or her day; it does not need one more place to put something, because in reality, whatever picture or video one would post on his or her Facebook “Story,” he or she could easily just post it on their timeline and just as many people would see it.  Of course, the “Story” is only up for twenty-four hours, so if one wanted it to disappear after so long, one could possibly say this feature is a good idea.  However, if anyone wanted to do that, then they could just post it to their Snapchat “Story.”

I truly believe that Facebook is showing a bit of identity crisis in this situation.  I think the company is forgetting the whole point of Facebook: it is about keeping people connected to friends and family all over the world, not to share minor details about the day.  Facebook doesn’t need a “Stories” feature to enhance the overall experience.  We have already been sharing our stories to all of our Facebook “Friends” without the need for this extra element.  In reality, we share more of our story through long posts, “shares,” “reactions,” and digital picture albums than we ever would through a “Stories” feature.  So on behalf of Facebook users around the globe, I think it is safe to say that Facebook never should have tried to copy an idea and never should again.