How the new social media stories option is fueling our self-centered lives
Facebook recently added “stories” to its mobile app, similar to the Snapchat and Instagram story features, further pushing us into a narcissistic world. Here we are, in 2017, and almost everybody on the planet now has access to this feature on one social media platform or another.
The stories features on all three of these platforms are guiding us into a world where everyone has an “all about me” attitude. Honestly, I’m all for technology—and I know I may sound like a low-tech old man when I write this—but our world is being defined by selfies and 24-hour time limits.
Every day, people from all around the world feel the need to share their lives with their friends. It started in 2014, when Snapchat released the revolutionary Live Stories feature. Immediately, people started sharing pictures ranging from their Starbucks cups to their bubble baths to personal rants. Then there’s my personal favourite: driving. Yes, users can show the world they’re putting their life at risk in real time.
Although people shared those types of pictures long before stories came out, the stories feature gave an opportunity to share a series of pictures at once, with viewers simply needing to tap to cycle through them.
This social media feature didn’t impact the whole social media world immediately because Snapchat only has 122 million users, according to Statista, a statistics-gathering website. In August 2016, Instagram launched its own “stories” feature, almost exactly like the one on Snapchat. According to Statista, Instagram had over 600 million monthly active users in December 2016.
Most recently, Facebook copied Snapchat and Instagram—two companies it also owns—by releasing a stories feature on its mobile app. Facebook claims they had 1.86 billion monthly active users as of December 2016. From Snapchat to Instagram to Facebook, just like that, the majority of social media users could use a stories feature on some sort of social media app.
The problem with these stories is people think they’re celebrities and their friends want to know about their life. Everyday people watch reality shows about celebrities who have a camera crew following them around for a TV show, and they’re inspired to do the same. Their phone is their camera crew, and these apps are the TV channels.
An article published in the January 31 issue of The Concordian said social media use could
lead to depression and anxiety in young adults. In my opinion, the stories feature is the root of it all. By choosing glamorous moments of their lives, people only share the happy moments, and the people who see these stories think their own lives are not as perfect in comparison. We used to think celebrities had perfect lives because of what we saw from their reality shows—when in fact they don’t—and now we think our friends have perfect lives because of social media stories.
I also notice a lot of people posting stories of their night outs partying or at a club. I didn’t think much of it until I started going out myself. What I saw shocked me—so many people are on their phones taking selfie videos of them dancing or having a drink. It’s pure narcissism, and it just ruins the night. You’re out with your friends, leave your virtual friends alone and in your pocket.
Like everything else on social media, stories are useful. Sports teams can show fans behind-the-scenes action. Companies have an opportunity to advertise. Snapchat’s Discover, which features stories from news media, companies and live events, has changed the way news is dispersed. But there are just too many negatives to the stories feature—the biggest being its contribution to our ever-growing narcissistic society.
Graphic by Florence Y