Last year, YouTube launched their own version of “Stories”, which gave users the ability to add a new short-form video known as Reels.  The feature, which was rebranded as YouTube Stories, later on, was initially only available to certain YouTube content creators.  But in June, YouTube pledged to expand that feature to all content creators with more than 10,000 subscribers.  And now it’s a reality.  YouTube is starting to roll this out to a wider set of creators, giving them access to the new creation tools that include the ability to decorate the videos with text, stickers, filters and more.  Of course, this feature is very much the same as those found in Instagram and Snapchat.  But, in YouTube’s case, the Stories disappear after 7 days, not 24 hours.

But why add this feature?  Other than its insanely popular?  It gives content creators an easy way to engage with their fans in-between their more polished and produced videos. Today’s creators are no longer simply turning a camera on and making a video blog, they’re creating professional content that requires editing a lot of work before publication.  This will give users the ability to get behind the scenes information including updates, or sneak peeks at upcoming videos and more.  It’s our understanding that before today, the test group was small and only included creators with more than 70,000 subscribers.

Once this feature is enabled, YouTube creators can film a new Story by opening the YouTube app, tapping on the video camera icon, and then selecting “Create Story”.  A new feature added is the ability for fans to comment on the Stories.  Viewers can “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” comments and “heart” comments, as well. The same comment moderation tools that are available on YouTube’s video uploads are also available on Stories, the company says. Plus, creators can choose to respond directly to fans’ comments with photos or videos that the whole community can see.

During the week that the Stories are live, the videos will show up to subscribers on the Subscriptions tab and non-subscribers on Home, and in the Up Next list below the videos. As of right now, many YouTube content creators point their fans to their Instagram for their short-form content and behind-the-scenes action, and this is what YouTube is hoping to end, given this new feature.  But hasn’t Instagram already done this with IGTV?  It gives content creators the ability to publish short and long versions of their videos, so maybe this isn’t necessary at all?

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a place for this option or even YouTube, but to me, it feels like each social network is kind of doing the same thing as the others.  Pretty soon they will all be the same.  But maybe I’m just cynical?

That said, this expansion brings Stories to a much wider group of creators than before, but YouTube isn’t saying if or when this feature will roll out to its entire user base.  Hopefully soon, though.  I mean, in this instance, it’s kind of an “elite” feature, whereas, with IGTV, everyone has access to it.  So I guess it’s not identical, but it’s certainly available to many more people through Instagram.