Instagram’s new feature allows users to send photos and videos directly to specific people, encouraging the use of these media types as methods of conversation.
Last Thursday, Instagram held a small press event to reveal the network’s newest feature: Instagram Direct.
Instagram Direct allows its more than 150 million users to direct message photos and videos to one person or a group of people. The feature is built on the idea that not every photo is meant to be shared with the world – that some photos and videos are meant to be shared with only one person or a small group of people as a method of conversation.
This feature shifts Instagram’s focus from pushing photos to a newsfeed where they can be seen by all followers, to direct messaging – much like a media-friendly Facebook messaging app, though the two are completely separate apps.
It’s important to note that this feature differentiates Instagram from Snapchat. Unlike Snapchat, each direct message remains in your inbox after receiving them, and users cannot mark up images with digital markers or avatars.
Here’s a quick rundown of what Instagram Direct is and how to use it:
- Choose to send a photo to one person or a group of people (up to 15 at once)
- You can send Instagram Direct photos to users you do not follow as well. They will see the request as “pending” and need to accept before seeing the image
- After sending the photo or video, it’s stored in your inbox for future reference. You can see who’s looked at it already and review any likes or comments
- When you receive a message, you can like, comment, or reply with another photo. The conversation is not threaded, so a new photo or video will result in a new conversation.
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