First Snapchat introduced its “stories” feature as a broadcast alternative to its original model of sending self-destructing snaps directly to individual users; then Facebook was rebuffed in trying to buy Snapchat and Mark Zuckerberg directed Instagram to reproduce an identical “stories” feature in Instagram, prompting all kinds of jokes about what software would have “stories” next.
Then in 2020, Twitter announced its — also identical — feature, this time called “Fleets” (see, like “tweets”, but they’re “fleeting”), and there was a whole new round of jokes.
In particular, Jef Poskanzer tweeted:
And I thought, “heh. that’s pretty funny.”
And then I thought, “you know, I bet I could actually write a program to do that.”
And then I thought, “that’s a terrible idea.”
So, obviously I’m doing it. Introducing my new project:
shtory — Snapchat/Instagram/Twitter-style stories, for the Unix shell. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.
Everyone knows nothing’s funnier than a joke about something people have long since stopped talking about, so in keeping with that principle I hope to have an alpha of shtory ready to put up on github by about the end of the month. Ultimately the concept here isn’t very dissimilar to the traditional Unix utility
finger, which displays the
.project files, if any, that a user has in their home directory; but individual poshts in a shtory will, like their social media inspirations, only live for 24 hours before being automatically deleted, and I plan on implementing more granular privacy controls of the type we’re used to in modern social media, like follow lists, blocking, locked accounts, mutual-only posts, etc.