In an era during which noncommittal RSVPs have turned into the social norm, Facebook is testing a new feature that aims to virtually encourage your friends to attend events in real life.
On Monday, Facebook announced that it’s going to let users share events that they are interesting in going to on their Stories so that they can gauge interest and coordinate attendance with their friends. According to The Verge, “The stories will come with tappable stickers for revealing event details, and friends can toggle themselves as ‘interested’ or ‘going’ to the event right from within the story. There’s also a link to the event page built in and a way to start a group chat on Messenger with friends who responded.”
The test is being carried out in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil, and will be available for iOS and Android users.
Facebook first began testing its Stories feature in March 2017. Fourteen months later the company announced that 150 million people were using the feature every day. This number is still smaller than Instagram’s Stories viewership, which Facebook said was used by 400 million Instagram accounts daily. But given the fact that Instagram’s feature launched in August 2016, Facebook Stories has time to catch up.
In fact, the company is planning on it.
“The Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime [in 2019]” Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox said, according to TechCrunch.
And connecting Facebook Stories to events—which can often get lost in a sea of puppy posts, proposal posts, and even puppy-proposal posts—could be a way to go.
Last month, Taylor Lorenz reported for the Atlantic that high schoolers were now turning to Instagram for event invitations, explaining, “When teenagers are planning a big party, they’ll sometimes create a new Instagram account, often with a handle that includes the date of the party, like @Nov17partyy or @SarahsBdayOctober27. The account will be set to private, and its bio will list the date of the party and sometimes the handles of the organizers.”
While this new Facebook Stories functionality might not bring teens to the platform to plan their next party, it might make things better for older demographics. According to a 2018 eMarketer report, while Facebook is losing users between 12 and 17 at a rapid pace, it is adding overall monthly users.