Since the introduction of stories on Snapchat, the feature has since expanded to Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and even Skype. The latest to join this bandwagon is Youtube.
The new feature, called Reels, is “YouTube’s clone on the popular ‘stories’ format, but designed specifically for YouTube creators,” Roy Livne, YouTube senior product manager, wrote in a blog post.
Reels is reserved to creators with 10,000 subscribers or more. Furthermore, Reels will only be seen on the Home page of YouTube as part of the Community platform that YouTube’s been testing with select users for about a year.
Speaking of Community, YouTube is also expanding this to all creators that meet the same threshold of at least 10,000 subscribers.
Reels, available to creators in a beta-test mode, lets users post videos of up to 30 seconds long. But a big difference between Snapchat Stories and other copycat implementations (like Instagram Stories) is that YouTube’s Reels won’t necessarily disappear after 24 hours: According to Livne, creators told YouTube that they didn’t want the videos to expire, “so we’ll give you those options.”
In addition to posting Reels, creators can use Community to publish status updates, create polls, share GIFs, and promote other channels. You’ve likely noticed these updates in the YouTube app from time to time, but with this expansion, you’re about to see them a lot more often.
Reels also can include links to longer YouTube videos, and will let creators apply filters as well as add music tracks, text and stickers to the videos.
The goal with Community and Reels is to get creators more engaged with their fans outside of video uploads, and while the idea isn’t a bad one, there is the fear of this seriously cluttering up YouTube as a platform.
In addition, YouTube said it has updated how posts in Community reach users across the platform. Now, a channel’s most-engaged viewers can see Community posts in the Home feed, “whether they’re subscribed to your channel or not,” according to Livne. YouTube also has “optimized” notifications about new Community posts so that subscribers are eligible to receive them, but they won’t necessarily get a new notification for every new post.