Social media these days are all about the stories. When Snapchat launched in 2011, its Stories feature took the world by storm. Lasting for 24 hours, this fun and trendy way to keep up with friends raised Snapchat to the social media throne. Brands loved the social media stories. Other social media platforms, needing to stay relevant, naturally followed suit. In 2016, Instagram released its very own Stories feature, a replica of the Snapchat model and soon followed Facebook Messenger and the main Facebook social network in 2017.
Stories is obviously a hit. And social networks are clamoring to present to the users their best version of it. Which one of them, though, is ruling the roost? Here’s our breakdown of the Stories phenomena.
The first in the game, Snapchat has built a loyal user base over the years. And rightly so. Snapchat’s constantly evolving fun and quirky filters are unparalleled across all platforms. I mean, who doesn’t love the classic puppy filter? And with all the customizing options available, it is rather difficult to grow bored of Snapchat Stories.
For the uncomplicated souls, Snapchat is a blessing. With its sleek and simple interface and features tying back to each other, Stories on Snapchat is an immersive experience. The sheer number of users it has amassed, from elusive celebrities to on-trend teenagers, speaks volumes about its favourability.
The fact that Snapchat values privacy is not a secret. After all, the platform did rise to popularity by providing a risk-free place for couples and even strangers to indulge in intimate texting. Screenshot notification is just another example of it. Not only are you in charge of who gets to view your content, but you also know who is saving it up for later.
Sort of a private retreat, Snapchat is all for the social butterflies as well. Look at the shared Stories option, for instance. This feature here allows you to share custom Stories within a group of friends. You get to decide who views the Story and who contributes to it. In any case, how you choose to tell your story is completely at your discretion.
Sadly though, the new layout of Snapchat rolled out in 2018 has not been a welcome addition. The Friends screen of the app will now be featuring snaps, messages and stories. This jumble of content within one page, most users agree, is unnecessary.
Saving Snap Stories to camera roll or vice versa is a chore of its own. Navigating through it is quite difficult for beginners and old-timers alike and is, therefore, a drawback of the Snapchat experience.
When Facebook released its Messenger Day feature, yet another replica of the Snapchat Stories model, it was met with wide criticism. Facebook continued to introduce the Stories option for its main site too and this added fuel to the fire. After all, they seemed to serve no purpose besides ripping off Snapchat.
However, for the older generation accustomed to the Facebook way of things, Facebook Stories created opportunities to engage with their friends without the need of installing any unfamiliar app.
Facebook has also been taking measures to eliminate the initial debate of having separate Stories for the main social site and Messenger by combining the two. The fusion means that the Story experience on Facebook will be more uniform with no more need of cross posting. All your Stories across Facebook platforms can now be synced.
Though the filters and masks offer variety, they are frankly quite boring compared to the ones on Snapchat. Their tacky vibe does not help their case either.
Facebook Stories, ultimately, seems very rushed without any proper direction or aesthetic. An out of the blue addition to all they have to offer, Facebook will need to up their Stories game if they intend to be in the running.
Instagram, too, is another rip-off of the Snapchat Story. However, this one has been met with a much warmer welcome.
With Instagram’s initiation of Stories, users no longer feel the need to oscillate between Snapchat and Instagram. Instagram now has it all. The fact that you don’t need to follow someone to view their stories is an additional perk.
Instagram has taken interaction through Stories to a whole new level. If being able to tag your friends in Stories wasn’t enough, you can now include polls too! This means you can get your friends and followers to let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Wondering what to color your hair next? A simple poll ought to give you the answer.
Instagram Stories’ different capture features- Live, Normal, Boomerang and Hands Free- make the platform much more fun and interesting with plenty of options to play around with. Live, just like the name suggests, lets users livestream some in-the-moment action. With Boomerang, you can post burst of photos which play in a loop, much like a gif. And finally, with the Hands-Free mode, you no longer need to press and hold to record a video. A simple tap and you are good to go.
On the flipside of Instagram Stories, we have the autoplay feature. Autoplaying Stories and replaying previously watched ones is an unwanted annoyance. Nobody wants content they would rather not watch be forced down them.
Instagram Stories also lacks all the fun filter and sticker options Snapchat offers. While better than Facebook’s by a long mile, it still is a work in progress.
Copying others has not always been the best idea when it comes to innovation. Facebooks is a burning example of it. But Instagram stories have risen to vibrancy in a very short time. The fascinating ingredient to stories is that the users who post to Snapchat also post to Instagram. For now, at least, it is a two-horse race between the two. If both platforms continue innovating and coming up with ever new intriguing features the tussle for stories will only make the user experience better.