Marshall Bowers

Conjurer of code. Devourer of art. Pursuer of æsthetics.

Blurred Platforms

Monday, July 25, 2022
370 words
2 minute read

In October 2013 Snapchat first launched stories. As a Snapchat user at the time, I took stories at their face value: a new feature on a platform I used, and nothing more.

What I didn't realize at the time was just how much I would come to loathe "stories" over the following years.

Before long, it seemed like every other platform was launching their own take on stories. Instagram and Facebook added stories of their own in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Even at the time these seemed like blatant rip-offs in an attempt to keep up with the competition. Despite this, the addition of stories to both of these apps didn't feel too outlandishly out of place.

Things started to go off the rails in 2020 when Spotify decided to add stories to their platform. Why does a music streaming platform need stories? Hell if I know. But there they were.

The year is now 2022 and much to my utter annoyance TikTok has taken over the world.

My (otherwise lovely) wife is just one of the many TikTok victims that exist. In turn, this makes me a secondhand TikTok victim, having to suffer through hearing the same "sounds" over, and over, and over again in the course of any given week.

TikTok first rose to prominence in the West after their acquisition of in 2018, and it wasn't long before other platforms started copying it.

Much like the Snapshot stories epidemic of the 2010s, the internet is now suffering from the TikTok cloning pandemic.

August 2020 saw Instagram—seemingly always the first to jump at a chance to rip-off another platform—launch Instagram Reels: a direct TikTok clone.

YouTube followed suit in July 2021 with the introduction of YouTube Shorts.

The commonality between Snapshot stories and TikTok is this: all of these online platforms are blurring into one another. If you squint just a little, they are practically indistinguishable.

For all my disenchantment with online platforms of late, Cohost is the one that has given me the most hope, for the sole reason that they are trying to do something different.

The internet needs more distinct platforms and fewer blurred ones.