So much Instagram news today, it’s crazy.
First, if you use the Close Friends features within Instagram Stories a lot, you’ll love this. Instagram has launched a new app called “Threads” that I talked about a while ago. Threads is a dedicated messaging app for interacting with your Instagram Close Friends via photo, video, or status update. The hook (I think!) is that it auto-shares your status with your friends – for instance, it can auto share my status “working” based on my phone being at my office.
Here’s the official explanation from Instagram:
Threads will request your location, movement, battery level and network connection from your phone in order to determine what context to share. For example, Auto Status might use your precise location to show your friends that you’re “at a cafe.” Or Auto Status might detect that you’re biking and set your status to “On the Move.” Before this is enabled, you’ll be told what information Auto Status is requesting and will be asked to specifically agree. Auto Status will not share your precise location with your friends, and when Threads sends location information to our server to look up locations, it’s not stored there – this information is only stored on your device for a limited time. It is also deleted if you remove Threads.
If you haven’t set up your Close Friends circle yet, this is the time. Keep the group small and grow it if you need to.
Secondly, Instagram has launched “Restrict”, giving you a way to keep bullies at arm’s length. When someone says inappropriate comments on one of your Instagram posts, you could delete the comment and block the user – but that’s not always the best response.  With Restrict mode, the bully won’t notice any difference – their comment will look normal to them, but the rest of your followers won’t be able to see it.  Also, if the bully sends you a Direct Message while they’re in Restrict mode, the message will move to the message request folder and you won’t see a notification about it. The message can still be read, but the bully won’t be able to see when it’s read or when you are active on Instagram.
However, I see a potential problem with this – the person who’s been Restricted will realize when use another account (or use without being signed in) and browse to your profile and look at the post they commented on. Granted, that’s a lot of work, but it is easily done. Still, it shows that Instagram is working hard to make this app a great experience for everyone.
Remember what the creators of Instagram explained at SXSW earlier this year : “You’ve got maybe a couple years of relevance when you build a product. If you don’t reinvent it every quarter or every year, then you fall out of relevance and you go away.”
Have you used Threads or Restrict yet? Do you plan to? What are your thoughts?