Do you find Instagram distracting on your phone?  Well, you no longer need the app on your phone in order to create Stories.  Instagram is adding support for posting Stories directly from your browser.  The downside is that you can’t post videos or use any of the fun filters.   But you can post still photos and text overlays.  This gives you a way to participate with your Instagram account if you don’t have the room for the account on your phone.  Or, like I said if you find it too distracting.  What’s also coming to Instagram soon is the ability to save posts.  More specifically – through your browser.  If there’s a fun recipe you want to remember for later, you can bookmark the post and visit all your saved examples.

There have been a lot of changes to Instagram over the last year and there are likely to be more.  On one hand these seem like great improvements, but on the other hand, they appear to be competing with other platforms.  The bookmark feature suggests they are trying to compete with Pinterest.  While some of these other features are in direct competition with Snapchat.  Who seems to be their main rival.  I have said many times that I am a bit of an Instagram traditionalist, but that doesn’t mean these features aren’t improvements.

Let’s recap some of the big Instagram updates that we’ve seen over the last year:


Instagram Polling Stickers

This seemed really neat when it first came out, but I haven’t seen many people using it lately.  If you don’t remember, this feature allows you to add polls to your Stories.  The defaults are “yes” or “no”, but you can also ask users to choose between two different options.  For example – you could ask people to pick between products or get your audience’s thoughts on what outfit to wear that day.  What’s funny about this feature was that people didn’t realize that the poll isn’t anonymous.  Which means, some people were posting responses that weren’t exactly nice.  And the person posting could see the response.  I think that’s hilarious.


Updated Creative Tools for Stories

Instagram released some tools to help make your Story look more “perfect”.  The first tool they made available was their new alignment tool.  When you’re adding text, stickers or other design elements to your story, you’ll notice blue lines that appear as you’re moving them around on the screen.  In addition, there are color pickers for text and brushes.  This tool automatically detects colors that will work well with the color scheme of your story and offers color recommendations for text and drawing.


Improved Comment Controls

A few months ago, Instagram created new comment moderation features like the ability to block comments containing offensive language.  They made some improvements recently, again to this.

Now, public profiles can:

  • Choose who can comment on your post. This can include everyone, but you can also limit commenting privileges to certain groups of people. Limited options include those who follow you, people you follow, and these two groups combined.
  • Block certain individuals from commenting on your posts.
  • Use the offensive-language blocking filter in Arabic, German, French, and Portuguese in addition to English.

Have you been using these features?  What do you think about them?  Like I said, they have put a lot of effort into improving their platform and there will be more improvements to come.  I think the browser/Stories feature will be really good.  But, as always, it will be interesting to see how this actually plays out.


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