TO EN­COUR­AGE MORE USE, IN­STA­GRAM TO AL­LOW SHAR­ING WITH FEWER

Apple Magazine - - Summary -

Keep your friends close ... and your close friends closer?

In­sta­gram is adding a fea­ture to make it eas­ier to share pho­tos and videos with fewer folks.

Called Close Friends, the new fea­ture lets users share Sto­ries — pho­tos and videos that dis­ap­pear af­ter 24 hours — with peo­ple they put on a spe­cial list. The idea is peo­ple may feel more com­fort­able shar­ing some things with just close friends, rather than all fol­low­ers.

Reg­u­lar posts would still ap­pear to ev­ery­one, though users have the op­tion of pre-ap­prov­ing fol­low­ers. Facebook al­ready lets peo­ple nar­row au­di­ences for in­di­vid­ual posts, but the Facebook-owned In­sta­gram hasn’t.

So­cial-me­dia com­pa­nies are quickly learn­ing that big­ger au­di­ence sizes for users can mean a re­luc­tance to share more per­sonal stuff. So, they are adding ways to com­mu­ni­cate with smaller groups. This is why Facebook is beef­ing up its Groups fea­ture, and why mes­sag­ing apps are so pop­u­lar.

Robby Stein, prod­uct di­rec­tor at In­sta­gram, said the fea­ture took more than a year to com­plete. It starts rolling out to users.

To use it, first cre­ate a list of close friends by go­ing to your pro­file and tap­ping the icon with three hor­i­zon­tal lines. In­sta­gram will sug­gest peo­ple to add based on how of­ten you in­ter­act with them, or you can pick your own.

Once that’s done, you can cre­ate a story just for those peo­ple. Friends aren’t no­ti­fied when you add them to the list, or if you re­move them later, and they can’t re­quest to be added. But they’ll even­tu­ally know: Sto­ries they get this way will have a green cir­cle around them, rather than the usual pink.

You can cre­ate just one Close Friends group, though, rather than sep­a­rate ones for fam­i­lies, friends and other cir­cles, as you can on the main Facebook ser­vice. Stein said In­sta­gram wanted to keep things sim­ple and ob­served that when there are mul­ti­ple lists, peo­ple don’t tend to use them.

In­sta­gram copied the Sto­ries fea­ture from Snapchat years ago and now has more than 400 mil­lion peo­ple us­ing the fea­ture each day. That’s more than twice the num­ber us­ing Snapchat — not just its Sto­ries fea­ture — each day.

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