Sometimes, the only way to react to someone else’s photo or video is with a photo or video of your own. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and when you’re on social media, why waste all that time typing when you can just take a snapshot instead? Here to help you do that is Instagram, which on Thursday, July 6 announced the ability to reply to Instagram stories with either a photo or video. “From selfies to Boomerangs, now you can be even more fun and playful when you respond to friends,” Instagram wrote in a news announcement.
To take advantage of the new feature, simply tap the new camera button when you’re watching an Instagram Story. The Facebook-owned platform notes “you can use any creative tools in the camera, including face filters, stickers, and Rewind.” Your reply will also include a sticker of the original Story that you can move around and resize.
If you happen to be the lucky recipient of such a reply, you’ll see the new photo or video in your Instagram inbox. If you tap on it, you’ll be able to see not only the response, but also the sticker of the original story (which is only available to you). And as is the case with Instagram’s ephemeral photos and videos, your friends will be notified when you’ve either taken a screenshot or replayed their reply.
Sure, this isn’t a particularly groundbreaking update, but it could be part of Instagram’s larger strategy to increase engagement with Stories. After all, Snapchat has been a case study to determine whether users like to send and receive photos with their friends, and with this latest feature, Instagram is yet again looking a bit more like its main competitor. Curiously enough, while Snapchat was certainly the first social media platform to encourage photo messaging in this capacity, its own Stories feature doesn’t currently have the video or photo reply feature — as it stands, you can only respond to Snapchat Stories with text.
Instagram concluded, “Today’s update is just one of the ways we’re working to make [Instagram] the best place to have fun, visual conversations.”
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