After a few weeks on the market, developers for Minnesota’s contact tracing app, COVIDaware MN, announced that they would be adding a Stories feature to the platform.
At the request of no one, app designers and developers pressed forward with the buildout of the feature. The app publicized the launch with the slogan, “A novel feature for a novel virus. Introducing: COVID-EOS.”
“Our hope in adding COVID-EOS, a very unique, inimitable offering, is that people will really start to see and understand the impacts of the novel coronavirus on the lives of others,” said Sabrina Lee, the lead developer on the project. “Additionally, we felt like social media has been missing out on zany, off-the-cuff COVID content. COVID-EOS will be the hub for that.”
Earlier this week, 100 users were selected to try out COVID-EOS for an iteration of beta testing. COVIDaware MN reported that throughout the testing period, only three people actually used the function. One of the three stories shared was a note on a plain black background, stating that COVID-EOS was “absolute buns”, and “an egregious waste of time, resources and effort.”
“It’s an expected response,” says Lee, of the feedback received from testing. “When people encounter something brand new and potentially groundbreaking in an app that they love, it can be jarring. It’s normal to see negative feedback. But we are confident that over time, users will grow to love this never-before-seen, innovative feature – and we hope that as trailblazers in the ‘stories’ space, other social media platforms take note and follow suit.”
Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the Clue period tracker app all declined to comment.