This needs to stop. Please make it stop.
I’m not just talking about Trump making idiotic moves like pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. (There seems to be no stopping Mr. Tiny Hands from flipping the bird to everything that we hold dear.)
No, I’m talking about apps shamefully ripping off Snapchat Stories.
As I’ve said many times before, this is all Facebook’s fault.
When Instagram (a Facebook-owned company) cloned the crap out of Snapchat Stories a year ago, we all shook our heads, pointed our fingers, and laughed at how scared it must have been to copy one of Snapchat’s core features.
And then everyone caved in and started using it. Whether that’s because Instagram is a larger platform or Instagram Stories is easier to use than Snapchat Stories — it doesn’t matter. People love Instagram Stories and it’s destroying all of Snapchat.
I admit, I tried my best to resist Instagram Stories — I already used Snapchat Stories, so why would I want to use a copycat? — but I gave in a few weeks ago, and now I rarely post anything to Snapchat Stories. Like my colleague Damon Beres wrote: I’m starting to love Instagram Stories more than Snapchat because I’m incredibly thirsty. I’m glugging down what Instagram is serving and I don’t care anymore.
Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom said he doesn’t think of Instagram Stories as just cloning Snapchat Stories, but considers “Stories” to be a desirable format for storytelling. It’s like messaging. There are tons of messaging apps, but they’re all fundamentally the same: you type out messages and they appear as bubbles.
I guess that’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Instagram ripped Snapchat off.
Nobody’s hanging on Skype waiting for things to get lit.
No doubt, the success of Instagram Stories gave Facebook the confidence to paste “Stories” into its other apps. In January the Facebook app added Stories. Then, in February, Facebook-owned WhatsApp got its own Stories in the form of an updated “Status.” And in March, Facebook Messenger also got Stories with “Messenger Day.”
Despite seemingly nobody using Facebook Stories — WhatsApp’s Status has 175 million daily users and it’s not clear how many people are using Messenger Day — others are now following in Facebook’s footsteps of copying Snapchat Stories.
The latest app to rip off Snapchat Stories is Skype with its “Highlights” — yeah, Skype, the app that ushered in VoIP to the masses and is about as cool as Microsoft Word. That is, they’re both still widely used, but come on, nobody’s hanging on Skype waiting for things to get lit. Skype is a utility, like the telephone, and you log in to chat with a person and then you log off.
Fine, Skype’s trying to reinvent itself to court the youngs. There’s nothing wrong with that except I fear that this is only the beginning. By the end of the year, I expect more apps to add a “Stories” feature. What’s next? Twitter Stories? Uber Stories? Apple Maps Stories? Apple Music Stories?
Product designer Rafael Conde perfectly visualized the Stories-fication of apps a few months ago:
LMFAO. Seriously, just LMFAO.
I cracked up when my colleague Stan Schroeder tweeted this last month:
I bought a sandwich today and it didn’t have a “stories” feature. I demand my money back.
— Stan Schroeder (@franticnews) May 5, 2017
He’s not alone. Look at all these jokesters.
Stories may be the hot new thing at the moment, but you can’t just force it into every app and expect people will jump onboard and lap it up. It needs to make sense. Stories, I’m sorry, Highlights, don’t make any sense on Skype. Skype is not a damn social platform. It’s a tunnel for connecting you to other people directly, not a nightclub like Snapchat or Instagram.
So, app developers. Look at your app. Does it need a Stories feature? The answer is probably no. OK then, stop it before I delete your app.