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Predicting a happy ending for Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories are just the latest in a long tradition of social networks pinching each other's ideas - but how long can they continue to do so?

If you've been on Facebook recently, the chances are the picture above will look familiar.

That row of greyed out friends who have yet to upload a ‘story’ to Facebook has become a common sight for many over the last week or so. Facebook Stories was the social media giant’s latest update to the network, and followed hot on the heels of another similar update to its Messenger platform.

As seems to be the case with any update, reactions online weren’t exactly positive. This writer was locked out of messenger for three days as a result, but most people’s ire was reserved for just how shamelessly the Zuck had ripped off Snapchat. Again (hey Instagram stories).

But, social networks stealing from each other is nothing new and since they were first created each has cherry-picked the best features from one another. As Instagram co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, put it last summer: “When Facebook invented the News Feed every social product was like, ‘That’s an innovation, how do we adapt that to our network?’”.

Will that ‘innovation’ be the end of one or two platforms? For now, each of the social networks are different enough to keep users coming back. Twitter (who are also rumoured to be testing a ‘story’ feature) is where you go for the latest on breaking news stories, or to comment along with whatever TV show you’re watching, Instagram is perfect as a source of visual inspiration and Snapchat’s great because your Mum isn’t on there posting memes about it being “wine o’clock”.

So as more of the platforms continue to replicate features from Snapchat, will it be able to survive? To come back to that picture at the top, a lot of people I’ve spoken to aren’t using the feature because they already use story features on Instagram or Snapchat. As this Social Media Manager knows, posting the same content on all your networks is a no-no, but perhaps it is also part of an almost subconscious protest? As the social network commonly viewed as the least tainted by advertising, the place to escape the ‘olds’ on Facebook, and the smallest in terms of active users, Snapchat holds a special place in people’s hearts and on their home screens. By not using Facebook Stories, perhaps users are taking a stand against the social network?

While that’s admirable – I clung to MySpace longer than many of my peers – eventually convenience will win out. The smartphone has succeeded as our one device for all things, it’s only natural that users will eventually want a social network that combines all the best features from each. And with 2.8 billion users, I’m backing Facebook to win that fight.

KFC in 2017 will now have stories 😉

— KFC Australia (@KFCAustralia) April 6, 2017

Posted 7 April 2017 by Ben Waterhouse