Does Lightning Strike Twice in Social Media?

By: Donald Smith

So, Facebook has begun to update its mobile application in several countries with a new feature called, Facebook Stories. This new feature allows users to post photos and videos that can be viewed up to two times by an individual user and will disappear 24 hours after being posted. Facebook has been testing this feature for some time. Back in July, Facebook tested a feature similar to Stories called Quick Updates.  However, the Stories feature sounds fairly similar to another app’s feature… oh yeah, Instagram Stories.

[Facebook Stories Status Bar] By: Business Insider

Instagram’s Stories feature allows its users to post photos and videos that can be view until a 24-hour time period has passed. The app originated in 2010 as a social media network that specialized in the sharing of photos. It then added the Stories feature in August 2016. Unfortunately, this sounds familiar to another app’s feature as well, Snapchat. Snapchat is recognized as the originator of the feature known as Stories. This particular feature, having user-generated disappear after 24 hours, is the entire premise of Snapchat.

Fascinatingly, Instagram has had substantial success since the integration of the Stories feature. The views and posts to Stories on Snapchat dropped by 15 percent, and sometimes up to 40 percent, while views and posts to Instagram Stories grew at alarming rates. Another shocking discovery is the number of downloads for Snapchat’s app plummeted on the launch date for Instagram’s Stories, which dropped into 11th place. Although Snapchat is still popular, by being in the top 25, it has taken a hit.

Now, it is not unknown for social media platforms to adopt features from one another. Interestingly enough, Instagram has done this before. It did this by implementing a 15-second video recording/editing feature. This feature was added to oppose, the video leader at the time, Vine. If you did not know, Facebook owns Instagram. Although Instagram found success from appropriating other apps’ features does not mean Facebook will have the same success.

Facebook is missing a large point, Uses and Gratifications Theory. The theory states users are active participants in the communication process by actively selecting specific media content to consume according to their needs. This means that individuals choose to use certain apps for certain purposes. Facebook’s demographic is moving toward an older audience who are sentimental and believe in the long-term. Therefore, they are not going to find much use out of an app that is the “now” or here today and gone tomorrow. It is Millennials, or 17 to 26-year-olds, who live within the fleeting moment. So, I do not see a reason for Facebook implementing this new feature if their user demographic does not use the app for the gratification of living in the moment. There is no such thing as a one-stop hub for social media.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism