Instagram Stories are a relatively recent addition to the Instagrams set of features. If we take a step back and refresh our memories, we may conclude that this is one of the biggest changes this network has made. From the very beginning, Instagram was always a light and straightforward app. It began as a platform for quick photo editing and sharing among the users. After a while, it became a giant with millions of users starting an entire industry and a trend that has made it be a part of our lives. Fast forward to 2016. And you can see that together with the new metro design, the biggest change to the formula has been the “stories” options.
It was clear that a platform that started so many trends needed to confirm its place among the top rated apps. That is why earlier this year the decided to release the Instagram Stories. Set up as an additional feature, it pretty much works like a Snapchat within the Instagram app. Seeing how Snapchat became a social network used more than Facebook this year, this feature is not a surprise. But, can this addition assure future Instagram domination among the image sharing apps? Let’s see.
As we said, Instagram stories look a lot like Snapchat, but they do offer some variations in usability. Also, the matter of legality stops them from being identical. First of all, any Instagram user can make stories. Stories can be pictures, videos or moving pictures taken from the Boomerang joined app. Stories appear to you on top of your home screen as a horizontal scroll feed. Once you post your first story, it will be visible as a first avatar picture in your story feed. Every other story will be bound to the user icon next to you in the feed, and you can tap to see it.
Now that you know where to find your story and where the other ones are – let us continue. The stories with the purple ring around them are the stories you haven’t seen yet. Once you see the story, it loses the circle goes to the end of the feed automatically. This way you can always browse the freshest and newest stories. Neat, right? When you look at your stories, you might notice a number at the bottom of the screen. This is the number of views your story got. Tapping on it, you can see the individual names of the users that have seen your story. Likewise, your name can be seen by others if you looked at their stories.
Seeing the names of the people viewing your stories, together with their name is a safety feature, one of a few that protect your Instagram privacy. Just like with profiles, there are certain ways to protect your stories from the people you don’t want to see them. For whatever reason, you might not want certain people to see your stories. Or you might only want your friends to be able to see them. Have no fear; there is a way to make sure you hold control over your privacy. Two major factors determine the options here, and they are about the way you set up your profile. They depend on whether your profile is private or public, to be more precise.
If you already took certain steps to make sure only the selected few can see your profile, then you are on a good way to keeping your stories a secret, too. When set to “private,” your stories become invisible to any person outside your friend circle. In the case of a public profile story posting – things get a bit more transparent. Any one of your friends can see your story, and if it gets popular, it can end up in the “Popular” section you see when you enter the search. Also, any account accessing your own can see your story by clicking on your profile picture. Likewise, you can see any person’s story by visiting their profile, if it’s public.
Public or private, Instagram has made sure to provide you with additional steps of protecting yourself. You can block certain persons from viewing your stories at any time. Note that it’s not as same as blocking their account. In this case, the person won’t see your stories but could still visit your account and see pictures. When you browse your “views” after posting a story, you will see an “X” next to every name. Clicking this button will block that person from seeing your future stories.
In the same way, you control who can see your story – you can control who can reply to it. Responding to the story won’t make a comment, but make a new private message dialogue. Also, any story goes away after 24 hours. This means it will disappear from the chat, too. You will still be able to see the conversation, only without the picture or the video you replied to.
Another neat feature of the Instagram stories is the ability to mention other people and share your stories that way. You can mention any of your friends and any of them can mention you. When other people mention you, this action won’t cause any changes on your profile. The picture won’t end up in your “tagged photos” section or on your feed. Only the people seeing that specific story will see it. And from there, they will be able to click and get to your profile. There is no real way of stopping this, for now. If the story you were mentioned in is offensive or fake, you can always report the user.
So far, the stories have shown to be a fantastic addition to the IG arsenal of features and a great step to improving the experience of sharing your favorite moments. With stories, there is another way to share your favorite snapshots with the people you like.