As you’ve likely noticed over the past few weeks, Instagram isn’t scared of change. But with their announcement today, the social platform has once again pushed the envelope with two new features: Live Video for Instagram Stories and disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct. Here’s everything you need to know!
Create Live Videos on Instagram Stories
Only four weeks ago, we wrote that Instagram was testing a new live-streaming feature. Today, Instagram debuted its live video tool, which, according to their announcement, will roll out globally over the coming weeks. The feature lets you broadcast to your followers in real-time via Instagram Stories.
For now, viewers can only watch live broadcasts when the hosting account is actually live, however you can also check out the new live stories feature on the Explore tab, which curates the best Instagram Live videos happening at that moment.
To go “live” on Instagram, just swipe right from your feed to open the camera. A new button lets you select “Start Live Video.” Tap the button and you can start sharing for up to an hour.
Your followers may get a notification when you go live so they can tune in. While you’re live, viewers can comment, or tap repeatedly to add hearts like on Facebook Live and Periscope. You can add comments too, and pin comments (yours or your viewers’) to the top of the reel. You can also turn comments off altogether, and block or report anyone who harasses you.
When someone you follow starts a live Story, you’ll see a “Live” banner under their profile photo in the Instagram stories bar in your home feed. But as we mentioned, you can also check out new live stories on the Explore tab. Just tap “Top Live” to view a collection live stories happening at that moment, and swipe right and left to easily skip around.
Send Disappearing Photos and Videos with Instagram Direct
Instagram Direct, the app’s messaging service, already boasts some 300 million users per month. But until today, all of the messages shared on Direct were permanent.
With the new feature, users can now send disappearing photos and videos in group and private “Direct” threads, while keeping the traditional direct messaging the same. Like Instagram Live, the update to Instagram Direct is rolling out globally over the coming weeks.
To send a disappearing photo or video with Instagram Direct, swipe right from your feed to open the camera. You can also click the new paper airplane icon at the top right corner of your feed to open your Instagram Direct inbox. A new bar at the top of the inbox shows disappearing photos and videos. Once you’ve taken a photo or video, tap the arrow button to send it privately.
You can send a disappearing photo or video to a group, or to individual friends. Unlike other messages in Instagram Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them. And you’ll see if they replayed it or took a screenshot.
When a friend sends you a disappearing photo or video, you’ll see it in the bar at the top of your Instagram Direct inbox. Tap the ones with blue rings to see what your friends sent you. In a group, you can see everyone’s responses — and who else has seen them — in a slideshow format. When you’re done, just tap their faded profile photo to send a quick response.
These new features add a new dimension to Instagram, allowing users to get even more creative! And for businesses in particular, the ability to schedule live videos offers a huge opportunity to connect with customers in real-time, which is potentially even more powerful than well-produced recorded content.
Instagram’s ability to send individual disappearing photos to friends is another feature competing directly with Snapchat, but the “groups” ability is unique to Instagram (and a much-requested feature for Snapchat). Will Snapchat Live be next? Let us know in the comments if you’ll be going “live” on Instagram!
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