Keep up with Instagram’s newest features.
Instagram is a social network that’s been around long enough to have mass usership, but not quite the length of time where people have become disillusioned with its usage, as is the case with Facebook or Twitter.
With 400 million active users, it’s generally considered the most personal network, compared to Facebook which is too full of links, ads, and people you never talk to anymore, while Twitter is simply too full of unfiltered noise and spam accounts. When it first came out, the main conceit of Instagram seemed counterintuitive to other networks many people used: you could only post one photo at a time in a single square format. This format seemed immediately popular, and the network amassed 100 million users in roughly two years.
Fast forward to today, and while some aspects have changed the fundamental way people use Instagram has stayed largely the same. People are less likely to spam—that is, post way too much at once—as they are on Facebook, and the most high profile users tend to limit their posts to about one photo a day. On Instagram less is more.
However, like any tech company Instagram’s developers have been introducing new features periodically to adapt and improve user experience. Last year, a big change came when you could upload landscape or horizontal photos for the first time, which was the first deviation from the standard square format. At first, many users felt this was a big departure from the visual consistency of the standard square. But over time, the seamless upgrade has introduced the quality of pictures posted and given professional photographers who share their work on Instagram more latitude to show off their skills.
Earlier in the month of February, Instagram rolled out a slew of new upgrades again. It remains to be seen how these will play out over the long run, but here’s a look at the most recent upgrades and how users can maximise their utility in their posting:
Toggle between accounts: Up until now, users of Instagram who had multiple handles or accounts—perhaps one for business, and another for personal use—had to log out and log in each and every time they wanted to post from a different account. This was clunky and tiresome, and a constant source of frustration for heavy users with multiple accounts. With the new upgrade it’s now possible for iOs and Android users to toggle between multiple accounts. While a user still needs a distinct email address to start a new account—this is to avoid spam—the clunky action of logging out and logging in again is now obsolete.
Long touch to expand: It’s common to look at someone’s Instagram feed and want to preview a few photos they’ve posted in the past. Now, instead of actually loading the photo itself, you can “long touch” the thumbnail, and a preview image will show on your screen. This was originally intended to work in conjunction with Apple’s 3D touch feature, but it works on Android as well.
Video views: The way to measure the popularity of an image on Instagram is via its likes. However, with videos user behaviour is slightly different. Actually watching an video as you’re scrolling through your feed is a sign that you like it (otherwise, you’d just skip it). Because of this, videos have historically attracted fewer likes. But with new video features such as Boomerang and Hyperlapse introduced to Instagram last year, the app announced last week on its blog that soon video views will be viewable, so you can see how many of your followers bothered to watch your post. This is a better indication of video popularity and shows Instagram’s willingness to adapt to user behaviour.