Today, Instagram rolled out several new features with the aim of helping users stay more connected to their friends in real life.
The company is now unveiling a few major changes, the most talked about being Notes — an addition that Meta had Once upon a time considered making into a Twitter opponent, as per a current news article.
Notes allow users to communicate updates to their friends with text and emojis, providing an alternative to the image and video-based content Instagram is most commonly known for. In addition, new features are being introduced to Stories that will create additional ways to share information with groups.
Instagram’s new Notes feature is the most interesting of all their announcements, as it allows users to communicate with each other using just text. While this may remind some people of Twitter, the user interface for Instagram Notes is much different.
On Instagram, users can leave notes by selecting the followers they follow back (aka mutuals) or others from their existing “Close Friends” list at the top of their inbox. With up to 60 characters of text or emoji, friends can type out a note that will appear at the top of their inboxes for 24 hours. Replies arrive as DMs.
Instagram discovered that people enjoyed having a way to start conversations without feeling the pressure of a formal event.
Therefore, even though the format of Twitter’s Notes differs from its real-time feed, there is potential for some users to utilize both features for similar purposes. For example, as the company described it, users could share “what they’re up to” or ask for recommendations through Notes.
Twitter today is prompting users for similar input. For example, when you go to compose a tweet, the app asks you to share “What’s happening?” And like Notes, it has a text input limit. (However, Twitter owner Elon Musk said that the limit will now grow substantially.)
Last week, The New York Times announced how Meta was planning to transform Instagram Notes, which has been in the testing process for several months, into a more official Twitter competitor. This is in response to recent events at Twitter following Elon Musk’s acquisition.
According to the report, the company has been debating whether Notes should be its own independent app or just another feed inside Instagram. However, it seems like Instagram is currently launching Notes as-is.
The latest set of features from Instagram is geared towards Stories.
The “Add Yours” feature, launched last year, facilitates trend participation by allowing users to share their own variation. Instagram is currently testing an update where users can invite friends to participate in trends by tapping “pass it on.” The goal of this new feature is to reduce the number of users who copy trends from TikTok, whether they are dances, skits, or AI effects set to music.
Instagram is now testing “Candid,” which allows friends to share stories that are only visible to others who also post their own Candids. This feature competes with BeReal, which locks content behind a blurred screen until the viewer also posts something. Like BeReal, Candid sends out daily reminders. (TikTok is attempting a similar function with its TikTok Now posts that appear in users’ feeds.)
This isn’t the first time Instagram has tried to steal BeReal’s userbase, which has grown rapidly among Gen Z. Earlier this year, the company tested out other features that copied what BeReals offers, including one called IG Candid Challenges (which is now just called Candid) and a dual camera feature optimistically named Dual.
With Instagram, you can take a Candid from the Story camera located at the top of your feed, or by using the daily notification reminder. The other two features concentrate on enhancing group sharing.
Instagram has a new profile type called “Group Profiles” which allows you to share content with friends rather than followers. Content shared on a Group Profile is also only posted on the Group Profile, not your individual profile.
Group Profiles on Instagram are beneficial as they reduce the difficulty users have in posting content. This is significant because many younger individuals use Instagram to post school-related content or themes. Before Group Profiles, only a select number of people with access to the account could curate submissions into posts.
Image Credits: Instagram
Collaborative Collections is a newer way to stay connected with a group of friends by sharing posts that interest you in a collection. You can add to the collection either through your feed or by 1-to-1 direct messages (DMs) with friends, and then saving it from there.
The new ‘Shared Collections’ feature on Facebook not only allows you to create a shared album with others, but also helps you build the album together- whether it’s full of ideas for your next group trip or gathering recipes.
Image Credits: Instagram
Mark Zuckerberg took to Instagram to announce the app’s new features.
According to TechCrunch, the company confirmed that Notes will be coming not only to iOS users but to Android users as well. The rest of the features are still in early developmental stages however and are currently being tested in areas such as Canada, Chile, and Taiwan. They’re told that group profiles are tested with a small percentage of people globally while the other features mentioned remain under close observation.
With Collaborative Collections, the one exception is if you’re in the test group and begin a collection with someone who isn’t in the test. If you invite someone new they will be automatically added to the test as well.
In a recent blog post, Instagram stated that connecting with others is why people use the app – in light of the recent complaints from users about unappealing and irrelevant content clogging up their feeds, we wanted to let you know that.
Eventually, after Kylie Jenner and other celebrities spoke up about Instagram becoming too much like TikTok, the app made changes. They decided to put a stop to tests of full-screen posts and lower the recommendations of content because that’s what users wanted.
The recent update to Instagram now focuses on social sharing with friends, which appears to be a more strategic move considering what people want from the app – connecting with others instead of being merely entertained like on TikTok.
With these updates, the app is making sure that users know they’re listening and can continue to share meaningful content with their friends and family. Instagram is now more suited to the needs of a larger user base and can remain one of the leading social media networks. So get ready to update your Instagram app and start connecting with friends in a whole new way!