Thursday morning, Facebook introduced a brand-new feature called “Facebook birthday stories” for users to be able to celebrate friends’ and family members’ birthdays even more, and a local Charleston bakery is getting to join in on the fun.
In honor of the launch, Facebook will be taking over 50 bakeries around the country to give away free treats, and in West Virginia, representatives from the popular social network will be at Rock City Cake Company, on Capitol Street, Friday giving away free cupcakes and cookies from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Co-owner Morgan Morrison said being picked for this event has been amazing.
“We’re really excited that Facebook chose us to represent the launch of birthday stories, and we’re going to do it justice,” she said.
At Rock City, Morrison said Facebook is a crucial platform the bakery uses to market themselves and their products to people in the area.
“We have almost 30,000 followers on our Facebook page, so if we invest money anywhere it’s into Facebook marketing,” she said. “You’re scrolling through your newsfeed — that’s how most people see things now, so I honestly couldn’t imagine our business without it.”
Two years ago, the popular social network introduced “Facebook stories,” a feature that allows users to share photos and videos with friends and view their friends’ content, as well. These stories are available to a personally selected audience for 24 hours and can be shared from the site itself or Facebook Messenger.
Once that allotted time has passed, the stories go into a “story archive” that is only visible to the user.
Facebook then upgraded stories to allow groups, events and pages to make specific stories their members could see and post into.
According to the company, 500,000,000 people are using the stories feature every day.
Because of this success, Facebook has created a specific story that will only be available on a user’s birthday that lets them and their friends post photos, videos and even e-cards to celebrate the special day.
“From our research, we’ve learned that people wanted to send exciting wishes to their friends for their birthdays, and they want these wishes to be authentic, fun and lighthearted,” Jehan Damji, a product manager on the feature, said.
The birthday stories include all of the same creative abilities users have with personal stories, such as the use of GIFs, music with custom songs and rotating text.
Through the tests Facebook did before releasing the product, it found that users’ creativity and thoughtfulness really shined when posting funny videos or old memories on a friend’s birthday story.
Users have three different ways of accessing this feature.
They can access the birthday story from what is known as their “story tray” on their homepage, by going through the birthday notifications they may have opted into receiving, or by going to the birthday person’s profile.
“Once you enter the experience, we make it really easy for you to create either a digital birthday card, which are really cool backgrounds that are animated, fun and light where you can add creative tools like GIFs and stickers, or you can take a photo or take a video and send it,” Damji said.
After figuring out what to post, all users have to do is press “share to story,” and their content will be posted onto the birthday story. Just like a normal story, though, the content will only last for 24 hours.
For Facebook users who may be concerned about certain images or videos being posted onto their profile, birthday stories have the option to allow users to approve or deny content they want to be posted.
The feature also lets users turn off and on the viewing for the story and have complete control over who can view the content from their special day. Private messages can also be sent back to the poster to either react or thank them for their birthday wish.
The sweets Rock City will be giving away are being custom-designed just for the event.
“We’re sticking to Facebook logos and Facebook-themed, and we’re making it birthday [oriented], so lots of sprinkles and everything,” Morrison said. “We’re going to have custom Facebook cookies and custom Facebook logo cupcakes.”
Morrison said she hopes everyone stops by to celebrate the new feature and have a good time.
“Who doesn’t love free cake?” she said.