Facebook launched its Stories and My Day features a couple of months ago, but my question is does anyone care?
When these features were launched on both Facebook and its sister platform Instagram, it was lauded as Facebook’s attempt to kill off Snapchat once and for all. But has it worked?
My short answer is “no”.
Let me explain:
Snapchat is predominately the domain of teenagers and – shudder – young people, and generally they no longer share much on Facebook because their parents and grandparents are on there. Facebook isn’t a cool place for sharing the story of your day, especially when, god forbid, your mum’s friend Pauline might see it. And so the youngsters don’t share.
That leaves the rest of us.
We have just about mastered the art of typing simple status updates and sharing pictures of our (increasingly rare) nights out, but even “checking in” to a location is a step too far for some and either a concept that isn’t understood, or raises a “who cares where I am?” question.
I am a reasonably active personal Facebook user, plus social media is my line of business, but I have never once been tempted to create a personal Story or My Day. Most of my content is shared to show off (let’s be honest, here) about what exotic location I am in; to share the love and the fact that I am having a good time with my amazing friends; or because something has happened that might make people chuckle. I don’t for one moment think that my personal Facebook status updates are of critical importance to anybody’s day, nor that people need to see some sort of extended version in the form of a Story.
It’s just not British, nor does it seem to suit many people over the age of 25.
This isn’t a scientific analysis of the new features, of course, and I am sure Facebook would be able to quote some super-duper-everybody-uses-this-feature-except-Libby type figures. But my anecdotal evidence says otherwise…
I have 439 Facebook friends. Not loads, but more than some. Some of my friends are very active marketing-types, so are very savvy in the ways of internet marketing (and I include myself in this bunch). But how many use Facebook’s Stories, or Messenger’s My Day?
Yep, the grand total of zero Stories are available for me to see from my 439 friends in either Facebook or Messenger. A couple of people have previously used it, but it certainly hasn’t been widely embraced.
I decided to ask why.
I asked a couple of people this question: “Why have you never used Facebook’s Stories or Messenger’s My Day?”: Here are the responses (the interviewees will remain anonymous to protect their precious innocence):
- What’s Stories? Is that the live stuff?
- What the f**k are Facebook Stories?
- Is that something to bore someone stupid with about my day?
After a bit of explanation as to what Stories and My Day are, these responses ensued:
- I have no interest in sharing that much stuff.
- I might have a passing interest in seeing anything my daughter shared, but more to see what she was putting on the internet, from a caring parental perspective.
- I would never create one because I would feel no one would have any interest in what I am doing and I don’t want to share that level of detail about myself.
- It’s too image-led and egotistical
The general gist is that my friends like to share certain specific events or activities with their Facebook friends, but they wouldn’t want to share everything because it’s too intrusive.
The fact that none of my 439 friends uses this tool surely must show in some small way that Stories isn’t the type of feature people want. Maybe this will change in time, but I doubt it, certainly amongst my peer group; being the grumpy 30/40+ somethings that they all are…
The business angle on this is that if this is your target audience, then perhaps sharing your content in this type of format isn’t the right method. Simpler certainly seems to be better.
So Facebook, how about you canvas the “normal” user before you introduce these whizzy new features. I am sure we could come up with a list as long as our arms that would make Facebook a better tool, but I seriously doubt being able to share a constant stream about our life wouldn’t be on the list.