Sunday, September 19, 2021
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The Possible End of Uniqueness – What the Story Feature did to Social Media

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An avid creative whose word plays so much that words say I play too much; a Ki'shon flow. Life is a journey and we're all full of stories.

It probably happened with the introduction of the voice note feature on Twitter. That was when it felt like things were suddenly about to get bloody in the tech industry and the social media scene. A lot of users of the Twitter app strongly expressed their disagreement with the update.

More people got annoyed because others got the feature before they did and were abusing it. But it is a feature we have gotten used to over the months, so it’s not an issue. Then Twitter changed the retweet button.

That was unexpected. Users again were not happy. So guess how everyone felt when the tweet went out talking about ‘Fleets’ – the stories feature for Twitter. Instagram rolled out an update that has given the app a user interface resembling an online e-commerce app.

story feature
twitter fleets on phone screen

The very simple straightforward apps that controlled huge sections of the internet had made moves that the users currently do not agree with but have no choice but to use.

Instagram’s little updates have seen stuff like the sizes of graphics for the app change amongst others. Sadly, what may be a move made in the best interest of income and revenue may have ended the very uniqueness every social media app had.

Stories & statuses as a feature were predominant on Snapchat and Whatsapp. Whatsapp recognized the need to create 24-hours expiring stories because people kept changing their statuses and figured, why not look at what Snapchat was doing and create something similar? They would not leave Instagram and Facebook out from this Christmas package, which was free for all.

whats app status from laptop
what’s app story on laptop

The idea behind stories is simple; people are always creating content on the fly and recording stuff in real-time. They’d want to share those moments or memories at the moment and forget about it the next day. The feature is pretty smart, and whoever thought about it needs applause. The problem is the fact that on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Whatsapp, the stories feature is warmly part of the ecosystem.

People are used to it. They get to see your life outside your posts or updates. It tells more stories about a person, the stuff they do and like rather than the customary profile picture and posts. The problem is when a place like Twitter added it to their app.

Twitter’s fun is because people don’t know each other but can relate to tweets and messages shared on the app. Putting a face to that experience hugely diminishes the overall use of the app. Unfortunately, Twitter made roll-outs that didn’t go down well with the users before this came out, so I don’t think they aimed to please anyone by including the story feature.

social media on phone screen

It’s gotten so bad that people are migrating to old apps that mirrored the ones we have now just because they do not want to cater to a social media world that is driving you to share your life moments with people you may not know. That provides an interesting business opportunity for the old apps that lost out to the newbies, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Then again, the masses have already been taken over by this path and not much can be done to curb it. You can find the video of a child being birthed on social media and find the death of someone in real-time there as well. As much as that feels and looks normal, it really shouldn’t.

But that’s how desensitized we are becoming. And it’s become of our disconnect that the apps are now looking like one man with distinct faces. The uniqueness that made us choose one over the other may well be over after this year ends.

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