How Do Social Media’s Story Features Compare?

The story format, made famous by Snapchat, has been on everyone’s radar for some time. For many of us on social media, flipping through stories on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook is second nature.

Because of the popularity of stories, platforms continue to hop on the bandwagon and create their own version of a story feature. Last month, Twitter shut down its story feature called “Fleets” due to low usage. But this month, despite Twitter’s recent failure, TikTok confirmed that its pilot test of a new story feature called “TikTok Stories” is now underway.

TikTok hasn’t provided any details on how extensively the pilot test would run, or if we’ll even see a wider release. Even though we don’t know much about the feature, it left us wondering…

How do existing “story” features across apps compare? What is the benefit of using stories, as opposed to regular posts? Here’s our breakdown.

Chart by Cole Mitchell

In general, stories look basically the same across platforms. A user can record or upload videos and images, then they can add text, stickers, sounds, lenses, filters, and more for customization. Most platforms, aside from Pinterest and YouTube, have stories that vanish after 24 hours but can be saved privately or publicly. Also, most platforms showcase their stories right at the top of your page, so it’s one of the first things users see.

There are some unique story features that vary across platforms. For example, both YouTube and TikTok have story comment sections. Also, YouTube Stories vanish after 7 days rather than 24 hours, and Pinterest’s Idea Pins don’t vanish at all.

Despite these differences, story features across platforms provide creators with similar benefits. Stories offer a way to casually upload content in between your more polished posts. They are a place for more personable in-the-moment or behind-the-scenes content. Since most stories disappear after 24 hours, it’s a good place to test out content that you don’t want to live on your profile forever.

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