Control and safety seem to be the themes of the month for Instagram, with the majority of their new features focused on providing users with more control over how they interact with the app and the impact Instagram can have in a broader societal discourse.
Starting with Amber Alerts, Instagram will be launching a new feature that will signify users about missing children in more than 20 countries around the world. Users will be shown a picture and details about the missing child in question, along with contact instructions should they have any information or sightings to report.
For users who require heightened sensitivity when scrolling the app, Instagram’s Sensitive Control Centre has been given more options for users to tinker with the different types of content fed to them through different channels. Through a three-tiered system, users can control the sensitivity of content fed to them through in-feed recommendations, hashtag and search result pages, and more.
Is the way you use Instagram of concern to you? It’s no secret that the app has been credited with creating low self-esteem and self-consciousness in many people. If you think you’re prone to falling down a wormhole of a particular kind of content on the app, Instagram has introduced Nudges to let you know when you’ve spent too much time on that topic and to remind you to check something else out. If you want to take it a step further, the Take A Break feature puts your screen time with the app front and centre, and encourages you to exit the app and try something else for a bit.
While these features address the way we consume content, the last control-style feature addresses the way we present our content. Users can now ‘pin’ posts to the top of the grid in their profile - so if you have one with particularly important information, or a post that performed well that you’d like to highlight, you can tap on the good ol’ three dots in the top right corner and select ‘Pin to your profile’. Voilà!
Aside from these control-based features, Instagram is making good on its commitment to short form video by introducing three major new features to Reels - the first being a longer maximum duration of 90 seconds. Following the pattern of rival app TikTok, who recently extended to three minute durations and even more recently 10 minute durations, Instagram is still a couple of steps behind with this latest announcement. Still, 90 seconds remains firmly in the short-form video category - though we’re sure with the pattern we’re seeing of extended durations, it won’t be long before Reels starts to feel like the old-school IGTV (if you can remember as far back as 2018).
Next up on the Reels list is stickers - you know, like the ones we like to whack on Instagram Stories for a bit of pizzazz. You can now add them to your Reels when you’re editing them. Nice.
No, but really - it’s not just funny gifs and emojis, it’s the interactive stickers too. Polls, questions, quizzes - all little widgets that do wonders for engagement can now be used in Reels. It presents a whole new horizon of opportunities for content and creating meaningful audience engagement. What might you be able to do with this new feature?
Finally, we’re getting an audio update with the provision of an Audio Import function. That means a cleaner, easier way to track, navigate and share audios (sometimes it feels like every Reel is listed as having an “Original Audio”…) and also gives more visibility to the original creators of those sounds. We’re predicting that it will make on-the-go Reel creation a lot easier without having to jump through hoops to upload certain sounds.
Phewf, and that’s our rather exhaustive roundup of Instagram updates for the month of June 2022 - who knows what July will bring?!
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