Mentions, links and Boomerangs – New features come to Instagram Stories

Instagram update new UI

Seems the best stories are the ones that exist only for a limited time and then simply vanish, leaving behind imperfect memories. Snapchat built a successful business around this idea, and Facebook-owned Instagram too wants to grab your ephemeral moments.  Its Stories tool, which started rolling out in August, has now added new features — the biggest update since launch — that will, apparently, make your stories even more fun. But you will need to upgrade to version 9.7 to tap into these.

Boomerang

instagram-stories_boomerang-in-cameraFirst off, is Boomerang — which is an interesting name, since it usually denotes something that backfires on you! But here, we assume the word was chosen to because the videos you shoot can be played backwards. This feature existed as a standalone app for creating video loops, and can now be access from within the app by swiping right from the feeds page. This opens the stories camera. Select the Boomerang mode, hit the record button and the app will capture and stitch together a series of photos, turning them into a mini video that can be shared via Instagram Stories. You are limited to five photos though, which works out to around 1.5 seconds. So choose wisely!

Mentions

2-instagram-stories_mentions-consumptionThe company also calls out the Mentions addition, where you can tag who you are with — or who you would rather be with. Instagram points out that the mentioning people in stories works the same as it does in captions and comments — type “@” followed by a username and select the person you want to mention. When your followers tap on the underlined username, they will see a pop-up that takes them to mentioned person’s profile. And to avoid surprises, Instagram will also send a notification to the person being mentioned — if you are already following that person, the alert will show under Direct and tapping on it will take you to the story — assuming it is still live. Otherwise, the notification will end up in your message requests queue.

See more

see-moreThe third important feature is the inclusion of a See More link, that allow you to add a link to related content so that your followers can “dig deeper”. But you will need to be a celeb or a brand with a verified account to use it — there is no word yet on when this feature will be available to everyone. Instagram hopes the See More link will aid in everything from discovering the latest in music to reading about a new movie, while keeping users within the app. It is pretty much what Facebook does when you click on a linked story in your news feed. However, Instagram has promised to block inappropriate links.

With these features, Instagram is spinning a more compelling, well, story for Snapchat users to jump ship. Or at least two-time. So, it will be interesting to see how Snapchat evolves in response, over the coming months. Seems your stories are going to be in demand more than ever before.