On Tuesday, Snapchat rolled out its “Custom Stories” option, which combines several new features to allow you to share content that focuses on a group of friends, an event, or a geographic location.
Until now, users could only individually make stories; “Custom Stories” allows you to create stories to which many people can contribute. Users can customize the stories’ privacy settings so that they’re visible to the public, only friends, or only certain other users.
“Custom Stories” can also be created around a certain place: Snapchat can create a narrow geofence around your current location and add all your photos and videos to a compiled story for that spot. Snapchat hopes that these stories will be popular for documenting events: “It’s perfect for a trip, a birthday party, or a new baby story just for the family.”
To advertise the debut, Snapchat hired a bunch of models to go on a desert trip. The promotional video follows a group of young women — and halfway through, abruptly, some horses — as they hang out in a remote canyon with inexplicably good phone service. Upon using Custom Stories, perhaps your life, too, will be photogenic and horse-filled.
“Custom Stories” will disappear if no one contributes to them for 24 hours. Users can only make three of the stories at a time, but they can contribute to as many as they want.
This is just the latest attempt by Snapchat to compete with the likes of Instagram and Facebook; Instagram brutally copied Snapchat’s story feature back in August, and has only ramped up the shameless copying since. Maybe “Custom Stories,” along with some stereotypically beautiful faces, will help Snapchat regain its competitive edge.