In case you missed the memo, or didn’t hear the grumblings or sighs of indignation from a nearby teen, I’m here to let you know that Instagram has added a new feature called “Stories”. This new Instagram feature allows you to share photos and videos within Instagram that disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Instagram Stories are basically a copycat of a Snapchat feature called – you guessed it – Stories.
Here are the basics of Instagram Stories, along with some privacy tips.
Instagram and Snapchat are two of the most popular apps for teens, and it’s interesting that they seem to be morphing into each other in terms of features. Snapchat, which had previously been known for images that disappear after being viewed, added Snapchat Stories a few years back. Pictures and videos shared to Snapchat Stories are visible to followers for 24 hours.
Instagram has, until now, been a platform where you would share photos and videos permanently. The images you chose to share (often painstakingly edited first) would be there on your feed forever, or until you decided to remove them. But now, Instagram has added their own “Story” feature. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Instagram Story Basics
- When you open the Instagram app, you’ll see Instagram stories from people you follow at the top of your feed (on the “Home” tab).
- To create a story, click the plus sign in the upper left. Take a picture or video from within the app, or upload from your camera roll. You can only choose a photo or video taken within the last 24 hours, so there is some sense of immediacy to stories vs. a regular post.
- Add some text or drawing on top, and save to your Story. It will be available to your followers for the next 24 hours.
- You can delete an image from your story before the 24 hours is up.
- You can save a photo or video from your Story to share on your Instagram (if you want it as part of your feed) or save to your camera roll.
- You can see who viewed your story.
- You can allow message replies on your story.
Instagram Stories Privacy Settings
Just like in Snapchat, you can change your settings for Instagram stories. You can do this either while you share to your Story, or any time from your profile.
Here is how to change your Instagram Story privacy settings from your profile
- Go to your Profile and click the Options “gear” button in the upper right.
- On the Options page, Under Account, select Story Settings.
- Click “Hide Story From” and then select any followers who you don’t want to view your story.
(Parents – this does mean, of course, that your kiddos could easily hide their stories from you, even if you are following them on Instagram. This is already the case with Instagram Direct messages, which I covered here).
- Under “Allow Message Replies”, you can either allow replies from any of your followers, just your followers that you follow back (reciprocal peeps), or turn off completely if you don’t want any replies. I’d recommend changing this “Just Your Followers” at a minimum.
If someone replies on your story, you’ll receive a notification for a direct message, as shown here with the red notification icon. The reply won’t become part of the story – it is private and won’t be seen by your other followers.
The addition of Instagram Stories gives you a great reason to review Instagram Settings with kids
This would be a great time to review your child’s list of followers and those they are following. If they have a public Instagram profile, anyone who happens to stumble upon their Instagram Story would be able to view it and comment unless they change the Instagram Story privacy settings. (Might be a good idea to change the entire profile to private!)
The initial internet reaction to Instagram stories was funny. There was an initial outcry on the internet about copying Snapchat, and screenshots showing that many were using their Instagram stories to publicize their Snapchat account. Do you have a teen who uses both apps? Ask them if they plan to use Instagram stories. They might be surprised you know what that is!