Facebook Stories Has Become Kind of Passive Aggressive
Facebook Stories hasn't had the most comfortable birth. Now that the usual round of Snapchat foul crying has died down, a new problem has arisen - nobody is actually using it. The service has proven to be decidedly unpopular, so most people have been seeing little more than an empty feed at the top of their screens.
Facebook have decided to change the way an inactive Stories feed looks like in order to remedy this, but rather than adding, say, a tumbleweed animation, they've actually taken a somewhat passive aggressive approach. Now, the feed will show all your top friends as blurred out 'ghosts' until they post something.
This way, you'll see the obscured icons of your nearest and dearest stacked up next to anyone 'cool' enough to actually post something. Hover your mouse over one of the former and it comes up with a message stating that they haven't put anything up in a while (probably never). Facebook are hoping that this will be an incentive to get people posting, because it will make them stand out more on the platform.
The thing is, the feature isn't even universally available yet, it's still in the staggered launch phase. For this reason, a lot of the people who aren't using it actually can't. Bringing in a change like this before the Stories feature has had a chance to get a real foothold seems like an oversteer. If it looks like Facebook are really pushing for people to use it, it may well have the opposite effect.
Stories was always going to be a hard sell, Facebook have to convince people that they should use it in spite of the fact that they could do the exact same thing on Snapchat, Instagram or Messenger. Turning your closest friends into blurry phantoms isn't going to encourage many people to pick Facebook Stories over the other options, the only thing that will do that is making the feature more versatile than the others. The tools to do this are there, but if Facebook just leave it as is then it's going to be a ghost gallery for a long time.
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum
Facebook Stories Has Become Kind of Passive Aggressive Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Rating: