The Neverending Story: Why social networks insist on using the “stories” format
Google just announced that YouTube is also committed to the Stories , functionality that on this platform have been dubbed “Reels”. That means that another important application adds to this trend that increasingly seems more contagious.
Snapchat has a lot to do with this story , and never better said. Evan Spiegel’s application revolutionized the way we share content on the Internet, and even Google tried to get hold of the company by offering 30 billion dollars.
One of its main successes were the Stories, giving the possibility to share photographs and small videos with your followers. The best way to measure this success is to see the amount of important applications that have been added to this fashion.
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We have to go back to October 2013 (yes, four years have passed), when Snapchat officially presented its Stories. In this way, they gave us the possibility of creating a somewhat ephemeral narrative, since our followers could only see it for 24 hours.
Users and brands began to use this functionality to show much more content without losing its fleeting character. A month later, we learned that Facebook had offered 3,000 million dollars (the figure is correct) for buying Snapchat.
Mark Zuckerberg received several denials , and at that time no one imagined what was approaching the horizon. As a vendetta, the main applications of the company have been adding their own ‘Stories’, with greater and less success:
- Instagram (in August 2016 )
- Facebook (in February 2017 )
- Messenger (in March of 2017 )
- WhatsApp (in March 2017 )
As we can see, in less than 12 months Facebook has implemented the Stories in its main applications . Instagram has managed to do a lot of damage to Snapchat, a battle they also win in terms of advertising.
Obviously, when the Stories came to Instagram, a great debate started on the Internet about whether or not it is ethical to launch a functionality that is practically identical. Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO, came to recognize that all the credit had Snapchat.
As I said at the beginning of the article, today another important application adds to the fashion of the Stories. YouTube is also committed to this format, although “Reels” is still in beta : available for about 200 creators around the world.
If you’ve used Instagram or Snapchat, you can perfectly imagine how this option works on YouTube, although there are some exclusive features for the platform:
- They last 15 seconds
- Each user can have more than one Story / Reel
- Clips can be trimmed
- Add songs to your video
- Add a YouTube video to your clip
- They could positively influence the positioning of the channel
In total we have seven applications that have Stories : Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, YouTube and Skype . It is striking that they are very important services, used daily by thousands of users.
“Inspiration” or lack of creativity?
We could put examples to infinity, but it is clear that the human being seeks inspiration in any field. When The Beatles were on the crest of the wave, in countries there were groups that imitated their hairstyles, instruments and songs.
It is normal for a fashion to be established, but one wonders when the moment will start to decay. The success of Instagram shows that the right product and timingcan be a good decision (although we might think it is not too ethical).
Anyway, that great reception that the Instagram Stories have had has not been repeated in Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook or Messenger. That means that including this functionality is not synonymous with immediate success.
When they launched the Stories, Instagram was already a very strong platform with a huge community. They had long left Flickr behind, becoming the main platform for photography. This made including this feature meaningful.
YouTube is now in charge of joining this alliance, and in the near future we will see what other platforms follow this path and how many maintain it. What is clear is that it has long ceased to be a novelty to become a kind of standard.