How to Create Instagram Stories (and Why You Might Want To)

Bubbling with inspiration, but worried about oversharing on Instagram? Instagram Stories are your answer.

Photo-based chat apps are in a sort of arms race when it comes to new features. This had led apps that built success on their niche appeal to start adopting some of the exact same features as their competitors. For instance, Snapchat began as a study in spontaneity, with its ephemeral self-destructing snaps that expire after a certain amount of time. Meanwhile, Instagram took on a more Facebook-like approach, with artful shots of everyday life captured permanently in a feed for posterity. Ironically, both of these photo-centric apps now have a feature that meets somewhere in the middle: Stories.

Instagram Stories are sets of photos or videos from the last 24 hours that don’t appear in your followers’ feeds and don’t stay on your profile. The reason you might want to make an Instagram Story is to give your followers a peek into what’s happening immediately in your life without having to feel like your oversharing. Your profile will appear at the top of their feed, letting them know you have a story going, but you won’t overwhelm their feed with each and every photo you post. In the same way that Snapchat encourages spontaneity and freer expression, stories free you from worrying about an Instagram post becoming part of your profile grid or annoying disinterested followers.

How is this different from Snapchat’s Stories? It’s not really, except for the platform. If you are an Instagram user and you are yearning for something a little more frivolous, then Instagram Stories will be up your alley. If you are a Snapchat user and you want something with a little longer life span, Snapchat Stories will scratch that equal and opposite itch. Clearly, Snapchat and Instagram are going after the same audiences.

Interested? Good.

In this article, we’ll show you how to create a story for Instagram.

How to Create and Publish Stories on Instagram

You can start a story in two ways: (1) tap the Your story thumbnail or (2) tap the camera button, which brings up a Snapchat like interface.

If you change your mind, you can exit the story interface by tapping the forward arrow.

Stories can also be shared with a specific user or group of users. Tap the cog icon in the upper left corner, tap Hide story from then choose the users you don’t want to share your story with. Additional settings can be adjusted such as allowing message replies, saving photos and videos from your story.

When you are ready to create your story, tap or hold the record button to record a video or capture a photo. You can also zoom in on an object using the pinch gesture. Other options include Boomerang, which captures a burst of photos and hands-free, which automatically records video using a single tap of the record button.

Stories also let you use an existing photo taken within the last 24 hours; swipe up then choose a photo.

After capturing your photo or video, choose from one of the three options such as stickers, doodles or text. You can share it as a story, save for later or share with a specific follower. New stories are displayed at the top of your Instagram feed, along with Live Videos.

Facebook (the parent company of Instagram) has also added Stories to its instant messaging app, Messenger. If you are not a fan of Instagram or Messenger, users will soon be able to create Stories on Facebook and WhatsApp, too. Looks like an interesting battle ahead between Facebook and Snap Inc.

Remember to check out our Instagram feature improvements article, to learn about the latest features. If you are curious about Snapchat, check out our beginner’s guide to Snapchat.

Tell us what you think. Have you used Instagram Stories? If not, will you now?

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