(Pocket-lint) - Facebook-owned Instagram has a copycat Snapchat feature: Stories.
With Snapchat Stories, you can broadcast multiple snaps (videos and photos) taken throughout the day, complete with overlays of doodles and stickers and filters and masks. This 'reel of snaps' will disappear after 24 hours, thus maintaining Snapchat's ephemeral vibe. If you want to repopulate your story reel, just take more videos and photos and continue to broadcast them.
Now, here's where Instagram comes in: It's obviously one of the most popular photo-sharing apps today - it has 1 billion active monthly users - though it's facing some stiff competition, from the likes of Snapchat, which it unsuccessfully tried to buy before launching a similar app (that failed to take off). Flash forward to now. Instead of trying to buy Snapchat again, Instagram is straight up copying the app with its own Stories feature.
Here's everything you need to know about Instagram Stories.
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What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram describes Stories as something that lets you "share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile". The feature enables you to share multiple photos and videos, and they appear together in a "slideshow format", which basically means a reel, like Snapchat. And, of course, these photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours. Seriously.
You can even add text and doodles to your photos and videos. See? We weren't kidding; it's exactly like Snapchat Stories.
How does Instagram Stories work?
Tap the camera button in the top left of your screen or swipe right from anywhere in your Instagram Feed. Then, tap or long press the record button at the bottom to take a photo or video, respectively. You can also tap Boomerang to take burst photos that loop forward or backward, and you can swipe left to go hands-free. Throughout its life, Instagram has added several new features to Stories, such as Superzoom, Stop-motion, Rewind and most recently, Music.
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Either way, once done, tap the doodle, text, or sticker icons to add effects. Stickers can include location information, polls and songs.
Once you're finished editing, you can save your creation to your phone or tap the + circle icon to share it to your story. Photos and videos you share to your story disappear from the feed and your profile after 24 hours. If you don't want someone to see your story, you can hide your story from them. Just tap the profile icon to access your profile, and then tap the settings/more button.
From there, select Story Settings below Account, then tap Hide Story From, and select the people you'd like to hide your story from. Simples.
When you post a photo or video to your story, it appears on your profile (a colourful ring will appear around your profile picture, and people can tap it to see your story) and at the top of the Instagram feed (your profile picture will appear in a row at the top of your followers' feeds, and they can tap it to see your story). Stories shared publicly may also appear in the Search & Explore tabs.
Additionally, if you've added a hashtag, location, or location-based sticker, it may also appear on hashtag or location pages.
You can reply to stories with a photo or video. In addition to writing a message reply, you can also respond with an image. When you're watching a story, there's a new camera button at the bottom of the screen. Tap that, and then snap a pic of yourself or record a video or take a Boomerang. You can move and resize the story image that you're replying to, as well, and insert that in your photo.
From there, apply filters or stickers, and when you're done, hit send to share your creation with your friend. Your friend will get your photo/video response in their Direct message inbox, along with the thumbnail of the original story.
What else can Instagram Stories do?
- Add effects: Like Snapchat, you can add doodles, text, stickers, live face filters, and geostickers to your story.
- Add music: The most recent update to Instagram is the ability to add songs directly to your Stories. Facebook has signed deals with all the major record labels to secure various songs, with more being added each day.
- See who's watching your story: When watching your own story, swipe up to see who’s watched each photo and video.
- Make your story private: If your account is set to private, your story will only be visible to your followers. You can also hide your entire story from anyone you don’t want to see it, even if they follow you.
- Post your story to your profile: Your Instagram Story by default won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed, but you can choose to feature a particular part of your story by posting it on your profile.
When will Instagram Stories be available?
Instagram Stories is now available globally for iOS and Android.
Want to know more?
Instagram's Help Center has several step-by-step guides that explain everything you need to know.
You can also check out Instagram's blog post for more details