For some time now Facebook has emphasized private groups and the interaction between them a lot more, and now it seems that Instagram is following suit. Instagram is currently developing a brand-new option which will allow for joint chat which Stories viewers could join in on, right from within a Story itself. The new joint chat sticker will prompt any user to enter information on what the chat is all about, and it then provides a note of its own, which says that people who are viewing the current Story will have the capability of requesting entry into this particular group chat.
If you’re not familiar with Instagram Stories, it’s a feature provided by the platform which allows users to post videos and photos which disappear within 24 hours. It’s very similar to Snapchat Stories which was first launched in 2013, and subsequently became a huge part of Snapchat’s sudden growth. Just like Snapchat’s Stories, all videos and photos used in an Instagram Story are ephemeral and can no longer be viewed when 24 hours have gone by.
Any content which is shared to a Story will not appear in the main Instagram feed, nor will it be visible in your profile grid. Facebook has also rolled out its own version of Stories, and the features of its stories are again very similar to both Snapchat and to Instagram. Instagram Stories will be displayed in a bar directly at the top of your main feed, and all Instagram accounts will have the ability to share Stories, either from people you know already, or from your favorite accounts on the platform.
Whenever there’s something new to see in Stories, the account profile photo will be displayed with a colored ring encircling it, so you’ll know something new has been added. In order to actually view a Story that you want to participate in, you have to tap on the profile photo associated with that account, and that will cause the Story to be displayed in full-screen mode, so that you can see all content which has been posted by that account within the past 24 hours.
All the content you see will then play in chronological order, starting with the oldest and proceeding to the newest. As you’re viewing the Story, you’ll have the ability to tap and go backward or forward, or you could swipe to navigate to a new account Story. Stories do not allow for public comments or likes, which is one way they differ from regular posts.
In order to create your own Story on Instagram, you’ll have to tap the ‘+’ icon at the upper left portion of your screen, or alternatively, you’ll be able to display the Story camera by swiping to the left. When the Story camera is open, you can record any kind of video or take a photo, just as you normally would on Instagram. When your video or photo has been recorded, you can apply a whole range of filters which will add drawings or text to those videos and photos.
After you’ve posted your Story, you’ll be able to use some basic analytics to see how many times each post which comprises your Story has been viewed by users, and you’ll know exactly who those users are. While watching your Story, you can swipe upward to see this data displayed, so you know who has viewed each of your photos and videos. You’ll also have the capability of featuring a specific portion of your Story by posting it to your profile, which will then cause it to appear right within your feed. You can do this by tapping the upload button, and that will put the photo or video right into your feed.
The privacy settings for Instagram Stories is the same as it would be for your overall account. This means that if you have your account set to private, then the story which you create would only be visible to your immediate followers. It is possible however, to hide your entire Story if you choose to, from anyone that you prefer not have visibility to that particular Story, even if they happen to be one of your followers. This can be a very handy feature, because you may have specific followers whom you don’t want to automatically see every Story that you create, especially if some of your Stories are intended for specific individuals only.
Greater emphasis on messaging
Also in line with Facebook’s new direction, Instagram has been placing a great deal of emphasis lately on messaging, and as a result more than half of all Instagram users are now using Instagram Direct. The results of all this are that Instagram Direct has become a very strong facilitator of connection and engagement with the platform, with an enormous 85% of all messages shared on the network being distributed right between the same three friends, as opposed to larger or more expansive groups.
This new joint chat option is intended to put even more emphasis on private group discussion and greater sharing between individuals of these groups. It also aligns nicely with the trends identified above, while at the same time providing users with a brand-new Instagram experience that will probably spark increased interest in the platform and its capabilities.
Assuming that this new capability is eventually rolled out to users, it will definitely offer one more way that stronger community connections can be made, and it will strengthen the relationship between individuals, by offering increased consultation and shared content which is exclusive within the group. Given the fact that influencer marketing is already very prevalent on Instagram, it will help to build even stronger connections with followers of those influencers and will probably serve to provide a significant boost to building brand recognition as well.
As yet, Instagram has not announced a launch date for this new feature, but in all likelihood, it will be released to the general public sometime in 2019.