Facebook’s Latest Stories Experiment Could Bring More People Together IRL
Facebook Stories are getting an infusion of activity from one of the platform’s most popular features: Events.
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They’ve developed Stories archives. They’ve created music stickers to make content more engaging. They’ve deployed Stories to Groups worldwide. And as Facebook aims to make Stories a more natural part of the platform’s experience, their latest experiment could make the feature truly useful: integration with Events.
The latest feature, currently in test mode for users in the US, Brazil, and Mexico, aims “to share the events you’re interested in and coordinate to meet up with friends IRL,” according to the company. Available for iOS and Android users, it allows you to share an event in your Stories – and for friends to indicate if they’re “Interested” or “Going” right from the story. These integrated stories “will come with tappable stickers for revealing event details,” will offer a link to the event page, and allow you to open a Messenger conversation with users who respond, according to The Verge.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called stories “the future of sharing,” and has demonstrated a confidence in the method by implementing it across the company’s brands- including, most recently, WhatsApp. Despite reported usage numbers of 300 million between the main Facebook app and Messenger, though, Facebook Stories simply haven’t gained the traction of their counterpart feature on Instagram. As an emerging location for ad revenue, this could be a problem if utilization doesn’t meaningfully increase. However, a connection to Events marks the most useful development for Facebook Stories, and could, therefore, make a difference in driving people to really use it (and not just duplicate their Instagram Stories there).
For all the airtime given to reports of mass exodus from the platform, Facebook as a whole is still a powerful place to organize people, share news of upcoming events, and gauge their participation. Focusing the development of new features around that fact creates a concrete means to “bring people together,” a purpose the company has continued to tout amidst scandals around privacy, bias, and covert data sharing. In emphasizing features that connect people outside/off the app, it affirms that stated goal while drawing people to a seemingly underutilized feature of the platform.
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