Here's How To Use Instagram's New Stories Feature

Photo: Courtesy Instagram.
Instagram introduced a major new feature today: Instagram Stories. Like the Snapchat feature of the same name, it's a place you can upload a quick, fun photo or video; add some details such as a drawing or text; and then share it with your followers until it expires 24 hours later.

If you're a Snapchat diehard, you'll already be fairly familiar with the fundamentals of Instagram Stories. But either way, here's what you need to know so you'll be an expert when it rolls out to your phone in the coming weeks.

Once you've got the app update, you'll notice the app's home screen now has a carousel of stories along the top of your feed. You can add a photo or video to your own story by clicking the plus sign in the upper left (a completely different button from sharing to your Instagram feed) or swiping to the right across your phone.

Next, you're taken to a Snapchat-like fullscreen view from your camera. You can swap between the front- and rear-facing camera with the button on the lower right; snap a picture or record a video by tapping or holding the shutter button in the middle; and adjust your flash settings with the button on the left. If you change your mind and decide you don't want to record a story, you can swipe to the left to get back to your Instagram feed — or just hit cancel after you've shot something.

Otherwise, you can then add a text overlay to the image or draw on it (à la Snapchat). Below is a video that guides you through the drawing feature. You've got three drawing-tool types, including a "glowing" marker, nine colors to choose from, and a slider that lets you adjust the thickness of the lines you draw.
Video: Courtesy Instagram.

After that, you just hit the checkmark at the bottom of the screen to share it to your Story, or hit the download button on the right if you want to save it to your Camera Roll.

When you're viewing a Story, as with Snapchat, you can tap to skip from one video clip to the next. When someone's circular icon has a colored ring around it, that means there's new Story footage you haven't seen.

Instagram Stories feels very Snapchat-like. If you don't like the feature, it should be fairly easy to ignore, but if you want to start sharing quick, Snapchat-style moments with your Instagram followers, you've now got the option.

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