Yet another social media app is joining the lineup of disappearing photos or videos, separate from your standard posts. That’s right, TikTok is testing a Stories feature in a wildly unoriginal new move. I think I speak for most of us when I add that this update is also, dare I say, nonsensical.
Originally implemented on Snapchat in 2013, the Stories feature allows users to post images and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Snapchat Stories was met with a resounding success — so much so that it sparked several copycats. Three years later, Instagram released its own Stories feature, followed by Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter (but Twitter’s “Fleets” feature was removed less than a year later, simply because nobody used it). The point is, virtually every social media platform now has Stories, so it was only a matter of time before TikTok jumped on the bandwagon.
Matt Navarra, a social media consultant based in the UK, shared screenshots of the preliminary feature, confirming that, yes, it looks exactly like Snapchat Stories. From the responses, users aren’t too happy about the new addition.
Honestly, I have to agree with those who are rolling their eyes at the announcement of this release. Hasn’t TikTok learned from the other social media applications that have tried (and failed) at popularizing Stories on their platforms? (Do you actually know anyone who actively uses Facebook Stories?)
I don’t know about you, but I use each social media platform for its originally intended reason. I use LinkedIn for job surfing, Pinterest for finding creative inspiration, TikTok for distracting myself with short, entertaining videos, and Facebook for… well, I don’t really use Facebook, but you get the point. None of these applications need Stories, and truthfully, they could do with a bit of creativity instead of recycling used ideas. Even Instagram Stories, a feature that was overwhelmingly successful in the beginning, seemed like an unoriginal grasp at straws for more attention. And today, the app is pivoting to be more like TikTok, lessening its focus on Stories and driving Reels for creators and shoppers. TikTok implementing this feature almost a decade after Snapchat Stories came out – with absolutely no reinvention or originality – seems like a losing game right off the bat. There are endless possibilities to expand upon the platform, so it’s frustrating to see TikTok taking the lazy way out by just copying every other platform.
Not only does TikTok’s addition of Stories present a cheap approach, but it’s also confusing to its users. As time goes on and platforms continue copying each other, they become more homogenous – losing the niche that their users know and love. TikTok is about watching short, random, funny videos in an endless stream of entertainment; the beauty of the platform is that the content is what matters, not the person who posted it. Adding stories completely counteracts this idea, and I fear that with time, TikTok will lose sight of why their users initially sought out the app. (Spoiler alert: it’s not to see what Addison Rae is up to.)
TikTok has one job and one job only, and should stick to what they’re good at instead of trying to become like every single other social media platform. None of us asked for Stories, and odds are, none of us will post them – so TikTok? Quit while you’re ahead.