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9 Instagram Story Hacks For Newbies Who Never Got The Snapchat Hype

I'll admit that my ability to learn new technology quickly is starting to fade away. Every single time I have to write about Snapchat, I find myself pawing at my touchscreen fruitlessly, with the air of a confused old golden retriever who thinks she's people. So I got nervous when I was asked to write about Instagram story hacks. But I'm proud to report that I did it! I figured out the feature in just minutes, posted my own story, and learned a thing or two in the process.

So what are stories? They're slideshows that self-destruct after 24 hours. Users can include both photos and videos in stories. The photos can be manipulated with the filters every Instagram user knows and loves, and you can also add text and drawings. One of the "pens" looks like neon, so if you're into drawing lasers or Chinese takeout restaurant signs, you're in luck! Stories don't appear in the regular feed, but in a row across the top of the home screen. That way, you won't be subjected to 30 pics of someone's dumb vacation unless you really want to be. Honestly, I rarely post to Instagram, because capturing that one perfect image is just too much pressure, but stories just might get me back into the app. Here's how to use it:

Pause By Holding Your Finger On The Screen

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Picture it: you're relaxing on the couch, enjoying an Instagram story by Romper, when all of a sudden your kid walks in starts yapping about Minecraft for the tenth time that day. You don't want to miss a slide, but outright ignoring your child is frowned upon. Simply touch the screen and hold it to pause until it's mommy time again.

Swipe To Skip Stories

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Not all stories are worth watching. Specifically, I'm talking about gym selfie stories, stories with 10 nearly identical photos of someone else's kids, and stories posted from a vacation that I could never afford. Just like on Tinder, you can swipe left to tell that story, "nah."

Feel Free To Be A Creep

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Unlike Snapchat, nobody will ever know if you screenshot an Instagram story, according to Gizmodo. Is that a good thing? Depends on whether you're a creep, or someone who's concerned about getting creeped on. It's good to know either way, though. But creeps beware: users can see who viewed their stories, so you're not totally in the clear. Maybe just don't be a creep, after all?

Share Pics From Your Gallery

Courtesy of Jenn Rose

When creating a story, you can tap the shutter button to take a picture, or hold it to take a video. But what about the pictures you took an hour ago, when you weren't on Instagram? Those are available, too. Just swipe down from the top of the screen. You can only use pics from the last 24 hours, though.

Swipe Your Photo To Add A Filter

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After taking a photo to add to a story, you can swipe across it to scroll through different filters.

Get More Pen Colors

Courtesy of Jenn Rose

When you select the pen option, the app gives you three screens of colored dots to choose from. But Romper's sister site, Bustle, discovered that if you press and hold those dots, you'll open up a full spectrum, so you can find the perfect shade with which to scribble on your own face.

Change Your Mind

Courtesy of Jenn Rose

If you decide a photo sucks, tap the three dots on the lower right corner of a photo to bring up the menu and delete it. Or if you love it, you can share it as a traditional post or save it to your phone.

Protect Your Privacy

Courtesy of Jenn Rose

With Story Settings, users can choose to hide a story from specific people (mom and boss?), and choose whether to allow comments. Choose wisely, though, because stories don't have a regular comment section; they're sent as direct messages. Keep the randos away by setting it to "People You Follow," or just turn them off completely. You don't need that judgement in your life. You know your story's legit.

See Who's Watched Your Story

Courtesy of Jenn Rose

If you watch your own story, you'll notice a number at the bottom of each slide. Pull up to see a list of every user that's watched it, and ask yourself, "Did they screenshot that pic of my postpartum belly?" Never sleep again.