Snapchat Tries Our Stories For Locals Only

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Snapchat’s newest feature could turn Our Stories into hip, visual back channels by locals for locals only. The company is currently experimenting with a version of its normally public, big event Our Stories that feature Snaps from a certain location that can only be seen by people nearby. Today it’s running one called “TGIF” that only pulls in Snaps from, and shows them to, people in Los Angeles.

If the Local Our Stories catch on, they could inspire people to open Snapchat to check if there’s nearby content. It could also barge in on a market that Yik Yak has found tons of traction with: college kids who want to know what’s up on campus. Local Our Stories could give twenty-somethings a way to see Snaps from their cities.

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We were tipped off to today’s Local Our Story by Gordon Tindall who spotted this notification in Snapchat while in L.A. It explains how the “TGIF in LA” Our Story is only visible to people who’ve been in L.A. within the previous day.

Snapchat confirms it’s trying out the feature. It previously ran one “TGIF in LA” Local Our Story a few months back. The feature works similarly to the Our Campus Story that debuted late last year to show off Snaps to people at the same school.

Snapchat QR CodeFirst launched in late 2013, Snapchat Stories lets users upload photos and videos to their “Story” that are visible to friends or people who follow them for 24 hours. Snapchat recently launched a new feature that lets people instantly follow each other by aiming their Snapchat camera at someone’s QR Snaptag code. You can try it with mine to the right if you want a funny look at gadgets, tech conferences, and life in Silicon Valley.

Snapchat then launched Our Stories last year at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, displaying a curated, crowdsourced collection of snaps to anyone around the world who wanted a glimpse at the dance music festival.

Our Stories were a big success, and eventually featured snaps shot within the geofence of events like the World Cup and Grammys. But they also began to encompass multi-location events like college football games on Sundays and the Snowpocalypse that hit New York and Boston.

Now Snapchat is testing the waters for Our Stories that aren’t visible globally, but only nearby to where the content is coming from. It comes alongside a special neon “TGIF” geo-filter that can be overlaid on photos.

Local Our Stories have the potential to create a connective fabric in communities where people can enjoy each other’s perspectives without having to follow or even know the people whose Snaps they’re watching.

As Snapchat grows towards saturation with teens and college kids, it needs more ways to be relevant to a wider audience. Its new Discover feature has this intention, too. Offering a crowdsourced look at what’s going on around you could make Snapchat fun even if you don’t have friends to send silly faces to.