Facebook-owned Instagram came from humble beginnings before becoming the social media/photography powerhouse that it is today, and has recently undergone a number of changes including a refreshed UI and logo, and most recently, the introduction of Instagram Stories. But wait, isn’t that similar to Snapchat Stories? Here we explain what Instagram Stories is, as well as how to create your own and view others.
How to use Instagram Stories: What is Instagram Stories?
Before we go on to explain how to use Instagram Stories, we thought we’d explain about what it is and where it came from. Why “where it came from?” –many argue that Instagram Stories is the exact same as the hugely popular Snapchat Stories, minus the augmented reality filters that make Instagram’s rival service so popular. But it goes beyond that – the way you interact with it and the UI are extremely similar to Snapchat Stories, leading many to believe that it was essentially “stolen” from Snapchat.
While we’re not accusing Facebook-owned Instagram of stealing the service, the similarities between the two simply cannot be ignored. If you want to learn more about Snapchat and the arguably better Snapchat stories, take a look at this: How to use Snapchat (filters, story and more)
Anyway, we digress. Instagram Stories allows users to create a ‘story’ of images and videos that is automatically deleted after 24 hours. Users can draw on photos and videos, add text and even filters to spice them up before posting too. This allows users to document and share pictures and videos of their day-to-day life (usually uneventful, hence why being deleted after 24 hours isn’t an issue) without clogging up the main Instagram feed – a social media faux pas for many Instagram users.
Here, we show you how to create and view Instagram Stories, along with a few tips we’ve picked up over time.
How to use Instagram Stories: How to create an Instagram Story
So, how do you partake in the hype and create an Instagram Story? The first thing to do is get the Instagram app and sign up for the service – it’s available for iOS and Android. Once you’re logged in and all set up, the next step is to swipe right from the main Instagram feed to access the Story camera. Users can also tap the circle icon in the top left hand corner, but swiping is generally the easier option.
From there, you have two options – you can either take a photo using the front- or rear facing camera of your smartphone, or swipe down from the top of the screen to select a photo or video taken within the last 24 hours.
Once you’ve taken/chosen the photo or video, you have the option to draw on it, add text or emoji and even change the filter before posting it to your Instagram Story. Tap the pen icon and select a colour and one of the three pen styles to draw on your photo. Tap the A icon to add text and emoji to your photo – once you’ve finished inputting text, the text can be moved and rotated using two fingers. You can also swipe left and right to add various filters, although the ones available aren’t nearly as good as the selection that Snapchat offers.
Once you’re happy with your creation, simply tap the tick at the bottom of the screen to publish it for all your followers to see. It’s worth nothing that you can head to your Instagram Settings menu (available via the Profile page) to change your story privacy, allowing only those that follow you to see it instead of anybody, for example. You can also tap on your story to re-watch it, and can swipe up from any post to see who has seen/watched it.
How to use Instagram Stories: How to view an Instagram Story
Now you know how to create your own Instagram Story, how do you watch other people’s stories? It’s fairly simple, really: anybody that has posted a story within the past 24 hours will pop up at the top of your Instagram feed surrounded by a pink/yellow circle, with a hue similar to that of the Instagram logo. Those with a colourful circle have posted stories that you’re yet to view, and you simply tap them to watch them.
Tapping on a story won’t just show you one story, though – it’ll show you all unseen stories on your feed, one after another. You can tap to skip any photos or videos you don’t really care about, or tap and hold the screen to pause it for those that you do. If you want to exit early, simply swipe down on the screen to close it.
You can also view the stories of people you don’t follow, if their privacy settings allow it. Simply head to the person’s profile page and if they’ve got an Instagram Story available, the profile picture will be surrounded with the same pinky-yellow circle as those on your Instagram feed. Tap it to view it – it’s that simple.