In June 2017, Instagram announced that it had begun to prove a feature that was later called "favorites", which was an attempt to reinvent the list of friends and encourage people to share more by posting them in another group limited of its followers. In response to the increase of "Finstagrams": private accounts were only followed by the closest friends of the person, the company tried to give users more tools to share them, with a set of features that touched almost all the parts of the application.
Almost 18 months later, the tour of Instagram in the private exchange has arrived, and looks very different from what he did in 2017. Now called "close friends", the function will be limited to Stories. And although it has reduced its previous incarnation, close friends could reconfigure social dynamics on Instagram.
To use the new feature, open the Camera Stories and take a photo or video. After finishing the shot, you will see a new green circle with a white star. Touch it and you will be taken to the list of your closest friends where you can add people to the inner circle. Instagram will suggest your friends according to the people with whom you interact more, or you can use a search box to finish your list. In the tests, people generally added about two dozen people, says Robby Stein, product lead to Instagram.
When you finish your list, you can share it with your close friends by tapping the green circle every time you capture a photo or a video for Stories. (Comments on my product: this button is small and will benefit greatly from enlargement). Once you do it, your close friends will see a green ring around your story in the tray at the top of the font. It is a visual signal that a close friend has shared something more private with you, and must stand out from the standard pink-violet gradient rings.
Friends have never been notified that you have added or deleted them from your list. Unlike a Finstagram, people can not request to join your near circle of friends. If they are on your list, you will see the green rings when you publish to your close friends; If they are not, they will not. But he will still keep "plausible negation," Stein says, since most people will simply assume that they have not posted anything to the group of friends.
Friends lists are not a new idea and, at best, social networks have not been successful. As I wrote in 2017:
For years, Foursquare co-founder, Dennis Crowley, told me that the maximum user request had been an option to make visible only small groups of friends. Foursquare built the function, Crowley told me, but hardly anyone used it.
Facebook, the owner of Instagram, has lists of your own friends. But its implementation has always been a bit clumsy, and it seems that they are relatively underused. Twitter lists differ because they are public, and the company has not made improvements in many years.
"This is a hard female to break, partly because social networks are dynamic," Stein says. People can be a close friend one day and leave them away from you over time. For Instagram, this means that the addition and elimination of people in the list must be as socially painless as possible. The company hopes that by eliminating the list of all notifications outside of the green ring, they will get people to share smaller groups.
And I suspect that close friends will not be the only ones who use "close friends". It is easy to imagine brands that create fan clubs or VIP lists where people can choose to receive additional messages. Instagram has not created any special tools to allow publishers to manage these lists, but I am wondering if timely brands will not press the company to allow them to use the list of intimate friends for purposes commercial
Meanwhile, I'm glad that your close friends have arrived. As more people go from Facebook to Instagram, the application has begun to face the same problem as the collapse of the flagship of their parent company. When you publish images simultaneously to your best friend, your ex-girlfriend, your colleagues and a person you've ever met once at a wedding, over time you are likely to share less and less. That's why I find the notification to the application of how many people have seen my ephemeral Instagram stories to be so overwhelming. The vast majority of these people never interact with my stories, leaving me with a constant impression that I am only dragged.
Because Instagram continues to advance, it must create a space for real friends to keep in touch. Nearby friends are a welcome step in this direction.