Instagram has announced a huge game-changing update that brings with it several new features, including its biggest-ever leap away from its photo-sharing roots.
The update, as detailed in the latest official Instagram Blog and announced on Instagram by Mark Zuckerberg himself, includes the following new features designed to increase and improve sharing on the platform:
- A new Twitter-like ‘Notes’ feature based on short text-based posts.
- ‘Add Yours’ nominations — a way to invite friends to take part in Add Yours stories.
- Candid Stories — essentially a clone of the popular BeReal app.
- Group Profiles — allowing invited friends to operate their own walled-off feed visible only to the group
- Collaborative Collections — The ability to save posts into shared collections viewable to selected users.
Perhaps the most significant of these updates is the new Notes feature which for the first time brings purely textual posts to the platform. This marks a radical departure from Instagram’s recent obsession with video and is timed perfectly to coincide with mass departures from Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover. The feature is also reminiscent of the ‘status’ setting found on messaging apps such as Skype or WhatsApp.
With Notes, users can share posts of up to 60 characters with selected followers. Posts stay at the top of recipients’s inboxes for 24 hours and replies come through as direct messages (DMs). It’s a quicker way to get your message across without people having to swipe through your stories.
Add Yours nominations
Add Yours stickers allow users to embellish Reels posts with a customizable prompt such as “Show what you had for breakfast”, responses are then aggregated into a page all participants can see. The new ‘pass it on’ button lets users forward Add Yours stickers to any breakfast-obsessed friends they think might want to participate.
Candid Stories, first leaked back in August, prompt participants daily to take an unedited photo, in one take, which is shared only with other participants who have also shot a Candid that day. The idea is to share an unfiltered snapshot of real life as an antidote to Instagram’s often highly-curated and polished posts. Thankfully, the daily notification can be turned off. The BeReal clone is also being tested on Facebook Stories.
Group Profiles are rather like Instagram’s version of WhatsApp group chats, but for Instagram posts rather than messages, memes and endless streams of GIFs. Only group members can see the Group Profile and posts are entirely separate from participants’ personal profiles.
Collaborative Collections are like regular saved posts but for groups where everyone in the group can see and add to the collection. You could, for example, collect posts containing potential travel destinations with your friends.
All of these new features have begun testing, while the Notes feature is already beginning to roll out.Together they form a package of features that further expand Instagram beyond the realm of influencers, viral video and chasing likes, which has to be a good thing. Cultivating stronger connections between friends in a way that’s inextricably tied to Instagram is also a great way for the platform to retain users who might otherwise jump ship to rivals such as TikTok.
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