On a long enough timeline, every social media app is trending towards adding stories, and now it’s apparently TikTok’s turn: the popular video app is experimenting with a new stories feature. The feature was highlighted by Matt Navarra on Twitter, and a TikTok spokesperson confirmed the test in an email to The edge.
The new feature, simply called “TikTok Stories”, seems to work similarly to other stories features on apps like Instagram or Snapchat. Stories come alive in a newly added slide-over sidebar, where you can see stories posted by accounts you follow on TikTok for 24 hours before they are automatically deleted. Other users can also comment and comment on your story. And just like on Instagram and other platforms, you can also tap on a user’s profile picture to load a story.
TikTok describes the feature in the app as “a new way to interact with your fans.” Users can create a new story by tapping a “create” button added to the sidebar, and they can add the usual captions, music, and text. True to TikTok’s video-first nature, it seems that stories should be videos, not stills.
“We are always thinking of new ways to add value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” a TikTok spokesperson wrote in a statement. The edge. “We’re currently experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”
The company has not given any details on how extensively it is testing TikTok Stories, nor when (or even if) it will see a wider release. However, a quick search on Twitter reveals a number of TikTok users who have already been granted access to the function.
It is not surprising that TikTok would experiment with stories. Stories were one of the only real constants in social media, with platforms from Instagram to Facebook to Linkedin to Pinterest to Netflix to YouTube to the Xbox app that replicates Snapchat’s original feature from 2013. When they work, stories are a great way for users to interact with each other in an app, provide a new place for ads, and generally keep a social media app’s feedback loop moving.
Stories aren’t always successful, though: just ask Twitter, which earlier this week, just eight months after it launched them, had to shut down its own story clone — creatively named Fleets — due to a general apathy toward the feature.