Instagram is getting a new 'stories' feature that's basically Snapchat


Get ready for Instagram's new feature ... Snapchat.

The Facebook-owned photo app said Tuesday it's adding a 24-hour self-destruct photo/video option called (stop us if you've heard this before) "stories."

What is it? Well it's basically Snapchat's stories feature. You can take photos and videos, draw on them or add little visual flourishes, and string them together as a single story post. And after 24 hours ... poof, they're gone.

Why is Instagram adding this?

In its announcement, Instagram says stories "lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile."

There's a reason they want you to do that. Instagram recently hit the 500 million user mark, putting it toward the top of the major social media apps in terms of users, according to April figures from AdWeek.

While Instagram has a sizable lead on Snapchat in terms of users, Business Insider has said it's the engagement that makes Snapchat such a force. Bloomberg reported more than 100 million Snapchat users spend 25-30 minutes a day in the app.

That's the opposite of what's happened to Instagram, as The Verge explains. Instagram has turned into a more thoughtful photo; "glamour shots" once or twice a week, rather than the spontaneous sharing that happens in Snapchat.

Instagram's new stories feature is an attempt to get users to share more, and share more often, The Verge says.

Stories will be rolled out on iPhone and Android over the next few weeks, so just keep your apps updated regularly.

So how does Instagram's stories work?

Honestly, this will be pretty familiar if you've used Snapchat. Snap a photo or hold the button for a video. You see it, can add some filters or on-screen drawings, then share it to your story, and voila, done. It'll be there for people for 24 hours. Here's an in-depth FAQ from Instagram.

A couple things to note:

It's separate from your regular feed

These story photos and videos won't be a part of the regular Instagram feed.

At the top of Instagram you'll see little circular icons for people you follow. If they've posted new story content, there will be an Instagram-logo-colored ring around them. Tap their icon, and then you can see the story.

You can however pick something from within your story and add it to your regular feed if you want.

It follows your privacy settings ... kind of

If your profile is public, anyone can see your stories. If your profile is private, only people who you've let follow you can see it.

But there is some flexibility. While watching your story, you can swipe up and see who has viewed it – then choose to hide your story from specific people.

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