TECH

How To Use Instagram Stories

Here's your full guide to Instagram's major new update.

03/08/2016 12:25 | Updated 03 August 2016

Instagram has launched a new feature, “Instagram Stories” so that users can easily capture and share all of their daily moments and “not worry about over-posting”.

The update will be rolling out to iOS and Android users over the next few weeks.

What Is Instagram Stories?

Instagram’s reputation as a glossy, aesthetically pleasing feed, with only the most curated of snaps was starting to work against the brand. 

Even Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitted to Techcrunch that he hadn’t posted in the last six days because he didn’t have any “highlights” deemed worthy enough.

Some of Instagram’s 300 million users had starting moving towards Snapchat in a bid to live-broadcast every off-the-cuff aspect of their life, in the knowledge it would be gone again within 24 hours.

Instagram needed to step it up. So along came stories. 

Instagram

How Does It Work?

Instagram users will record photos and videos to add to their story using the same camera function already provided on the app. 

These will then be posted to your story roll (a slideshow type format) rather than your current grid-style profile, and disappear after 24 hours.

There are also personalization tools, such as text, drawing and emoji inserts to customise your pictures.

Reactions and conversations on your stories will stay private and won’t post to your public grid, so it’s operating almost as two separate feeds within one social media platform. 

What Does It Look Like?

When you go on to your normal Instagram feed, there will be an additional horizontal navigation bar across the top of your screen.

This bar will show profiles of people you are following - both celebrities and friends - who are using the stories feature.

When there is something new to see, they will get a colourful ring around their profile picture. To view, you just tap on the profile photo, and you can swipe through stories you are not enjoying.

Who Can See What I’m Posting? 

Your story follows the privacy settings of your current account. So if you set your account to private, your story is visible only to your followers.

Instagram

But you can also easily hide your entire story from anyone you don’t want to see it, even if they follow you - they won’t know you have done this. 

When watching your own story, you can swipe up to check out who’s seen each photo and video. 

Instagram

Isn’t That Just A Complete Copy Of Snapchat?

We can’t help but feel we’ve heard of Instagram stories somewhere before…? 

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told Techcrunch: “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.” 

At least he’s honest. 

So Why Would You Use Instagram Stories Over Snapchat?

For starters, Instagram Stories don’t record when you screenshot something, so you can relay pictures to your BFF/mum/grandma much more easily in the knowledge that the original poster isn’t registering your interest in that particular aubergine emoji snap. 

Not only that, but Instagram stories has amalgamated the features that people might move between apps - the best of both worlds. 

People who have already built up a following on Instagram, might prefer to share their stories there and get a better reaction, than on Snapchat which might have a smaller audience.

When Can I Start Using Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories officially started rolling out on iOS and Android on 2 August but there will be a lag of a couple of weeks until all users have the feature.

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