It’s been a stressful week. More stressful than the time there was a Sriracha shortage. More tense than that whole Kanye/Taylor Swift fallout. If you still have yet to leave the comfortable confines of the blanket fort you built earlier this week in despair, take our hand. It’s a new, orange world, but we’ll explore it together. And we’re starting with getting back to reality as we know it.
Instagram is here to wrap you up tightly in a blanket and rock you back and forth with their newly released features that are simultaneously cool and useful. It’s been three months since Instagram announced their Stories feature, and in those three months the app has been tweaking and updating their monolith of a visual platform to differentiate themselves even further from Snapchat.
Because we like being helpful and because we can’t live in blanket forts forever (though we would if we could), we took it upon ourselves to explore the latest Instagram features. Below, our insight and thoughts on the trio of tools that will add some much-needed laughter into your week.
A new social element to your Stories, you’ll be able to tag people in much the same way you tag them in the captions of your photos. Simply add their username with the ‘@’ symbol to a photo or video in your Story, and anyone you mentioned will display a pop-up that links to the person’s profile. The person you tag will get a direct message immediately that alerts them to your tag; if someone you don’t follow mentions you, a notification will appear in message requests.
This feature is a nice addition to discovering other accounts. When you post a Story with a mention now, you have an opportunity to highlight a person, place, or brand, and if you’re creating content for your brand, this is especially a huge tool to reach out to your followers and increase engagement in fun, ephemeral ways.
Probably our favourite addition to Instagram Stories and similar to Snapchat Discover, you’ll be able to link stories and articles that you find interesting. This addition is in testing mode right now and is only available to verified users at the moment (think Beyoncé, the Kardashians and Jenner clan, Coco the Celebrity Dog). You’ll know when a hyperlink has been added to a Story when the words “See More” on the bottom of the image/video. Tapping the link or swiping up will load the link using Instagram’s in-app browser.
This is actually a pretty big deal for Instagram, especially for brands, if you’re verified. Never again will you have to utter the words “Link in bio” in your caption. Your users can simply click on your hyperlink and be delivered to your content, which keeps the entire process of content consumption linear and seamless.
Boomerang, the app that allows you to shoot 1.5-second videos made from a burst of five photos, is now easily accessible in your Story mode. Boomerang is an amusing app to play with; it quickly plays your videos forwards and backward for a creative, quirky effect that will likely leave you creating goofy jumping/dancing videos all afternoon.
They differ from GIFS and Vines with their looping, “boomerang” effect (i.e. seeing everything periodically in reverse), and if used correctly you’ll have a handful of amazingly entertaining content in your feed to engage your followers with.
Pro tip: to create the best boomerang for your Story, make sure you finish your video at a completely different point than where you started for a dramatic effect.
The world is a scary place. But that’s what boomerangs of dog videos are for. For everything else, there is wine, belly breaths, and, when in doubt, more blanket forts.