Instagram Stories: Tips, tricks and who to follow

The feature was launched on August 2nd

When Instagram first announced their new "Stories" feature on August 2nd, there was one clear talking point that dominated the majority of the coverage; did Instagram just steal Snapchat's idea? Since then, that side of things have died down somewhat and people seem to be embracing it. 

I've been a fan of Instagram Stories from the get-go. I think it was a spark of genius by the Facebook-owned company to bring this to their 500 million monthly active users. The company has just announced that some 100 million people are already using Stories. For those of you who still may be unsure as to what it's all about or who just haven't had time to get to grips with it, here's a quick rundown on how it works. 

The basics:

A "story" is a montage of images and videos uploaded by you that will remain online for 24 hours. After that time, it disappears. There is no limit on how much a user can post in a 24 hour period. 

To upload a story:

Press the plus symbol in the top left corner of the screen or, when on your main feed, simply swipe to the left

From there, simply point and shoot at whatever object you wish to capture or hold the circle button down to record a video

It's possible to edit images and videos by adding text or a drawing. Simply click on the tools on the top right of the screen. 

Once you're happy with your creation, hit done and then the arrow up. Your post is then visible to those following you as part of your story. 

If you want to watch your story, simply hit on your profile picture. If you want to download an image or video that makes up part of your story, simply tap the download button and it will be saved into your camera roll. 

Advanced

Once you've mastered the basics, there's plenty of other features to play around with. 

To upload a photo captured earlier in the day, or within the past 24 hours, simply start a story and swipe down. This will show a gallery of your most recent images. From there, you can edit and upload as above. 

It's possible to prevent certain followers from viewing your story. To do this, select Story Settings and tap Hide My Story From. Select those you want to block from your Story. They will still be able to view your normal Instagram posts and profile, unless you block them entirely. 

While it's not possible to comment on a story directly, it is possible to direct-message the creator. To send a message, tap on the bottom left of the screen where it says "Send Message".

Couldn't be easier!