Stories, stories, everywhere. But we're not talking the book kind - we're talking the film yourself on social media, send the film to your millions of friends and then start again the next day... because this film disappears after 24-hours kind of Story. Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook are all on it - here's what you need to know.

Click on pretty much any social media app in existence and you’ll see that they’ve got a new feature – Stories!

Stories, stories, stories. They’re everywhere. First came Snapchat stories. Then Instagram launched basically the same thing in August 2016. And, as of last month, Facebook has Stories and WhatsApp has Status (which is basically Stories), too.

But what are they? Well, it’s basically a place for you to upload video content of your life. You can upload photos or little video clips (usually about six or seven seconds), edit it, and then people can view it for 24 hours before it’s deleted. You can keep adding to your ‘story’ throughout the day, so people can get quite an accurate sense of what you’re up to. Or, of course, you can use the feature to do ridiculous stuff, like film your dog howling along to Celine Dion. Or capturing an impromptu train rave.

If you’re wondering what makes each unique, here’s a quick breakdown.

Snapchat Stories

Anyone who has you on Snapchat (i.e. anyone who has added you, followed you, scanned your unique QR code etc.) can see your stories. You can only upload live footage but can edit it by adding some of Snapchat’s signature lenses, or some filters that speed things up, slow them down, add colour effects, Bitmoji frames or geo-targeted location stamps.

One of our favourite aspects of Snapchat is that you can cut little sections of your video out and use them as stamps – they’re saved to your emoji folder for later use.

Instagram Stories

If you have a regular account, anyone can see your Instagram Stories, but if you have your profile set to private then you have more control – with the ability to hide your story from certain accounts, or change how people can reply/comment. Instagram Stories also allows you to use third party apps like Boomerang and HandsFree if you want to be a bit more creative with your form, and if you’re into the ‘drawing tool’ then you’ll love the level of detail you can choose from the line – loads more colour, size and luminosity options. We’re also a BIG fan of the heart drawing tool, which allows you to drape your pics and videos in lovey-dovey digital bunting.

If you like to keep tabs on your popularity, you’ll love that you can see how many times your Instagram story has been viewed. Just click on your Story icon, swipe up and check out exactly how many views you’ve had. Even better? You can see exactly who’s viewed your story. Crucial in case, y’know, George Clooney happens to be a fan.

WhatsApp Status

 

WhatsApp allows you the most privacy, as only selective contacts are able to view it. Like the others, you can edit and add fun elements to your vids and pics, but WhatsApp has the unique feature of allowing you to crop and caption your masterpieces before they go live. You can also upload content from your phone, so if you’ve found a great gif or meme you just HAVE to share with everyone, this might be the place to do it.

In truth, it’s only a matter of time before more stories come to greet us, so check back here for updates as they happen.

Facebook Stories

Use Facebook’s in-app camera (to access, just swipe right) to play around with fun filter overlays and Snapchat-style masks. Users can choose to share their Stories at the top of their News Feed, or to send to select friends via direct message. You can also reply to a Story you’re watching with a DM, but be quick – it’ll disappear after 24 hours. Facebook Stories lives only on mobile, so is all about capturing your adventures on the go.

Prefer to keep your Facebook old-school? I.e. used primarily for keeping tabs on exes and swooning over faraway friends’ baby pics? You can disable the Facebook Stories feature by clicking the bottom-pointing arrow (next to the question mark on the upper right-hand side of the screen). Select Activity Log, click on All Apps on the left-side menu, find the app story you want to remove and click on the pencil icon. Choose Hidden from Timeline, or select Delete to get rid of it altogether.