Copycats

Everyone has a story.

I don’t mean it in the way that every person has a life story. That’s true, but it’s also too deep and sentimental for this blog.

What I mean is that every social medium has some version of the “story” feature that used to belong exclusively to Snapchat.

First, it was a stepping stone for Snapchat to expand from an app that allowed you to send one-off messages that disappeared within 10 seconds to a true social medium that allowed you to share multi-faceted “stories” with multiple followers at once.

(They take 24 hours to disappear.)

The Snapchat story evolved, and now you can see not only the stories of your friends and the celebs that you follow but also stories specifically curated by the Snapchat team as well as the daily “featured” stories of various news and entertainment outlets such as Buzzfeed and Cosmo.

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For some reason, even though Snapchat developed the concept and has clear mastery over it, Instagram decided to get in on the game. As if we needed another app with disappearing images that we somehow regret posting well before their 24-hour timer has run down.

On one hand, I understand the appeal of stories on Instagram. The informal rules of Instagram – manners on different social media platforms are all different, you know – don’t allow users to “double post.” Whenever you decide it’s necessary to post that second IG of the day, you run the risk of annoying all of your friends or even (the horror) losing a follower. It’s just not proper.

That’s exactly what Facebook (which, by the way, owns Instagram) is trying to combat here. They want you uploading more content. They want your eyes for more hours.

But on the other hand, the “story” idea is blatantly stolen from Snapchat, and Instagram has done nothing to improve or even differentiate their version of the daily dose of disappearing pictures and video clips.

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I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less. I mean, I saw The Social Network. Facebook was, itself, a borrowed idea, right? Something about a lawsuit between Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins?

But that’s old news, and at least Zuckerberg actually changed and built upon the existing idea before releasing Facebook out into the world.

More relevant (though still, I admit, a few  months old): Facebook has added face filters and messages that – oh yes – disappear. It’s the “most brazen act of Snapchat cloning yet.”

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Users of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can obviously tell that the former two are ripping ideas from the latter…but  no one seems to care. Apparently the clone thing is working.

A bummer, I’d say, because to me…as teens move towards calling Snapchat the most important social media platform, Facebook looks more and more like that old uncle trying to fit in with the youths.

2 thoughts on “Copycats

  1. I’ve noticed this copying stuff happens when a once small and innovative company becomes essentially too large to handle. Apple has copied features from the Chinese messaging app WeChat over the past few years. And since most of the Western world has never used WeChat, many don’t realize that these aren’t innovations, but merely Apple trying to keep up.

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    1. Good point! Yeah Apple and Facebook seem to be in a similar lifestage, but that’s an interesting point about how they’re taking ideas from a more obscure (to US customers at least) source.

      Like

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