On Tuesday, Instagram rolled out an update that will have avid Story-posters jumping up and down. With Stories Highlights, users can pull Stories from their newly archived collection of them (that's part one of the update) and showcase them on their profiles sans ephemerality. That's right, your carefully crafted Stories no longer have to disappear into the ether after a mere 24 hours — they can live on as Story Highlights. And the best part is that anyone who follows you or visits your public profile can see your Story Highlights on Instagram, so spending hours making them just perfect just became a perfectly legitimate way to spend your time.
But let's start at the beginning. Instagram started rolling out the Stories Archive and the Stories Highlights features Tuesday for Android and iOS users all over the world. With Archives, any user who doesn't opt out will have the luxury of having their Stories, which have the public lifespan of one day, automatically saved to a private space within the app. At that point, users taking advantage of this new tool can start to amass a cache of memorable moments immortalized in pics and videos for their own personal reference.
That's handy, as Instagram claims that many users have been manually downloading their stories before they reach the 24-hour limit. The Archive ensure that users can easily repost these Stories to Instagram later if they want to, such as directly to their profiles of in direct messages.
But the fun really starts with Stories Highlights. This is the tool that enables users to take those Stories from all their Instagrammable adventures — concerts, vacations, brunches, family get-togethers, you name it — and make them a part of their profiles. Doing that is easy: Simply tap the "New" circle that should appear in the "Highlight" section below your bio. You'll end up in the Archive section, where you can decide which Stories to include in a Highlight. Go crazy, because each one can fit up to 100 photos and videos. Give it a name, slap on a cover photo, post, and voila, you've shared your first-ever Stories Highlight.
But where does it go from there? How will your followers, or even others who may be keeping an eye on your profile, see it? Well that's where the feature gets really interesting. As TechCrunch's Josh Constine pointed out, the advent of Highlights represents the first time that Instagram will allow users to post content that does not funnel directly into their followers' feeds. Instead, Highlights will live on for as long as the poster wants them to in a newly designated section directly below his or her bio. Presumably, that means that anyone with access to your profile can see your Stories Highlights, but they'll have to actually visit your profile in order to do so.
That would mean that if your profile is public, anyone can check out your Highlights at any time. If it's private, that privilege is reserved for your followers.
It's easy to see how this feature, which essentially takes Snapchat Memories a step further, could be a hit among users. After all, Instagram described Stories in its new feature as a "key part of how you express yourself," and who really wants all that self-expression to simply disappear after 24 hours? Now, users can curate, group, and show off those memories for as long as they want on their profiles. If a person's Instagram feed is a reflection of who they are as a people, it makes sense for those Stories they create as they go about their days to help to, literally, tell the story of who they are, too.
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