It hasn’t even been 24 hours since we learned of a new feature for Instagram’s Stories, and they’ve added another one. This one, however, people might not be to everyone’s liking. I’m not sure how I feel about this one either. Instagram is rolling out an activity status in direct messages. With it, your friends on iOS and Android will be better to keep track of when you were online last. The feature indicates when a person was active underneath their username. If you’re like me, you probably don’t want this status to be available. The good news is – you can turn it off.
But why is this even an option? Not that I have anything to hide, but I don’t want people to know when I’m on Instagram. No, I’m not trying to ignore people but sometimes I just like to go on for a few minutes, scroll through Instagram and then go to bed. If I respond to people, I feel like they will respond to me. And the cycle continues.
So here’s an interesting part about the feature is that your followers can’t see when you’re online, but people you follow or who you’ve recently DM’d can see how many minutes or hours ago you were scrolling through your feed. The feature will only show as you having been “active today”, but on the flip side, it does get specific enough to display something like “active now” when you’re using the app at that precise moment.
I still don’t understand the purpose behind this one though. Instagram itself isn’t’ a messaging app. Sure, it has messaging capabilities, but the intent of the app isn’t to message people. So why is that the focus? Why is that always the focus? Is there a group that this makes sense for? Maybe if you’re talking to a business or something, and want to know how fast they are at responding to your messages. But again, if you’re just chatting with your friends, I don’t see how this is really going to help.
It seems to me, though, that “they” are trying to push more messaging apps down our throat. I’m going to pick on Facebook here for a moment. Facebook owns Instagram, but they also own WhatsApp. Facebook started as a way to connect with friends, and somewhere along the line, they’ve transformed into something else. Ok, I can live with that. But then they give us their own messaging platform – Messenger. Which is successful in its own right. Why? I will never really understand that one. If we’re that good of friends, you will have my phone number and you can message me somehow. If we’re not, we’re probably not talking so, in my opinion, Messenger isn’t needed.
That said, Facebook also has WhatsApp. Which is a true “messaging” application. It’s not my favorite, but I’ve used it before and for the most part, I liked it. So why try to turn Instagram into yet another messaging application? Sure, this feature doesn’t mean it’s suddenly Facebook Messenger, but there is a logical trajectory that I think this is going to take. Instagram has talked about a standalone messaging app. Which, if it wasn’t already obvious, I’m vehemently against. I’m also tired of Instagram adding new features. Please, give us a break for a moment, Instagram.
I did say that you can hide it – here’s how:
- Open the app and head to Settings.
- Scroll down until you see the new ‘Show Activity Status’ option.
- Toggle the feature off.
If you opt out of this feature, you won’t be able to see when other people are active. But that’s ok isn’t it?