Starting today, it’s officially harder to ignore someone’s DM without them feeling burned. Instagram is launching a new “online” status in Direct — indicated by a small green dot on someone’s profile photo — that lets you know when someone is “available to chat.”
Nineties kids will recognise this from the days of AIM (miss you, little running man), but the addition is not exactly a surprising one. Messenger, another Facebook-owned app, already features the same online status indicator. However, from the screenshots Instagram posted with the announcement, it appears that the update only shows when someone is online, and not how long ago they were active — which you can see on Messenger.
If you’d like to avoid accidentally throwing shade, or, at least do so more subtly, it’s easy to turn off your status: Simply go to your Settings > Activity Status (under Privacy and Security), and toggle off “Show Activity Status”. Note that doing so also prevents you from seeing when your friends are online, but if you'd rather not be available all the time, it's probably worth it.
If, on the other hand, you find yourself the recipient of the aforementioned shade, it might be worth asking yourself if you've engaged any mute-able offences lately. Have you repeatedly asked followers to ask you a question? Have you posted 15-plus Stories replying to these questions? The proof is in the posts.