Facebook has finally gone all in on its efforts to clone Snapchat – Say hello to Facebook Stories.
Some of you may have noticed something different about the Facebook app over the past 24 hours. At the top of your News Feed, you now have your second News Feed – Facebook Stories. The little circles mean a lot more than just another Facebook feature. This is Facebook’s fourth attempt to copy Snapchat.
How to use Facebook Stories
Anyone familiar with Snapchat will recognise the user interface of Facebook Stories, however, there are some slight differences (probably to avoid a lawsuit).
Stories appears at the top of the iOS (and presumably Android) app as a row of circles. If you can’t see it yet, make sure your app is up to date. If it’s still not there, it is likely to me gradually rolling out, so hang tight for a day or two.
The first circle with a paper airplane in allows you to send photos and videos directly to individuals that last for 24 hours. When someone else sends you a direct message, they will appear here. This direct message, or DM, feels very similar to Instagram’s DMs.
The next circle is your own story. If you haven’t posted anything in the last 24 hours, then you’ll be able to tap here to upload a photo or video. If you have posted, then you’ll be able to flick through your stories and see how many people and who have/has seen them.
All other circles will be stories from your Facebook friends. You haven’t got any other circles then you either have no Facebook friends or none of them are using it yet.
Uploading to Facebook Stories
When you’re on the Facebook app, you can now swipe right to access the Stories camera. To make it easy to follow I’m going to list the features and how to use them:
Rotate camera – Double tap anywhere the screen
Flash – Activate the flash by tapping the lightning bolt
Take a picture – Tap the large circle in the middle at the bottom of the screen
Take a video – Press and hold the same large circle
Upload a photo or video from camera roll – You can upload any photo or video from your camera roll from the last 24 hours. To do that, tap the icon that looks like two cards in the bottom right hand of your screen. The photos/videos you can upload appear at the bottom. Scroll through and choose the one you want
Filters – To use filters flick up and down the screen
Filters, frames and lenses – To view the filters, frames and lenses, tap the magic wand in the left-handt hand corner of the screen. You have four tabs here – Popular, lenses, filters and frames.
Editing the photo
Once you’ve taken your photo or video you have a couple of options. For a photo, in the top right corner you have the option to rotate the image, however, on a video, this mutes the audio.
The magic wand allows you to add frames and filters, but lenses are no longer available.
Add text by tapping the ‘Aa’ icon and start typing. Change the colour by tapping the colour you want. This will change the colour of all of the text.
Draw on your photo or video with the pencil tool. Choose your colour from the panel at the bottom and change the size by tapping the three dots in the right-hand corner and sliding to the desired size.
You can also change from a solid pencil line to more of a chalk-like line by tapping the brush icon and flicking between the two styles.
Once you’re happy with it, tap the arrow button and choose whether to send it to your story or as a DM to your friends.
Facebook Vs Snapchat Timeline
Facebook’s first mainstream attack on Snapchat came in the form of Instagram Stories in August 2016. The blatant copy of Snapchat Stories caused quite a stir with people a lot of people calling it very unethical. Copying is the greatest form of flattery, right?
The next copy of Snapchat came to the Facebook Messenger app in January 2017 called Messenger Day. An identical version of Instagram Stories placed at the top of the Messenger app. This was when we realised Facebook was really serious about Snapchat style sharing. The feature began to roll out to its 1 billion monthly active users, a significant difference to Instagram’s 600 million.
In February, Facebook-owned Whatsapp tried its own version of Stories as a replacement to the Status feature. This was dropped in March after a lot of criticism and I can only assume a very low uptake (considering I never actually leave the chat page of Whatsapp).
On 28th March 2017, Facebook officially began to roll out Facebook Stories to all of its users. That’s 1.7 billion people. To put into perspective, Snapchat currently has 301 million monthly active users.
Why is it a big deal?
For the every day person, Facebook Stories probably isn’t a big deal. Some people will use it, some people won’t. But it does say something about the shift in social media.
Facebook copying stories across all of its platforms “represents an important validation of that concept” The Verge said. There’s going to be a shift in social media in the same way that Facebook’s own News Feed changed how we consume content.
“The way people create content is changing to be from text to photos and videos,” said Connor Hayes, product manager for Facebook stories. “This is in turn, changing the way they’re sharing with one another and interacting online.” He added: “This is something that Snapchat has really pioneered.”
Whilst business pages currently don’t have stories, there do appear to be some ads between stories, as well as sponsored lenses (currently Power Rangers and Despicable Me 3). I would imagine Facebook will test Stories with their audience for 6-12 months before bringing businesses into the equation.
I’m going to keep testing Instagram and Facebook Stories, alongside Snapchat and see how each one performs. But I think we’re a long way off from knowing the true ‘winner’ for our online attention.
Let me know what you think about Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories or Messenger Day. Find me @AlMilner05 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and Milner05 on Snapchat.