How To Watch An Instagram Story

While driving down a winding mountain road at sunset a few years ago, a friend of mine made a rather Tumblr-esque comment from my back seat that the most beautiful moments in life were ones that were, by definition, fleeting and impossible to capture. Instagram seems to have gotten on board with this philosophy with the introduction of its new Instagram Stories, a 24-hour temporary post that captures the wonderfully imperfect moments between your expertly plated brunch, and that one picture of you at the beach where your hair isn't stuck in your lip gloss. So, how do you watch an Instagram Story anyway?

There are a couple of different ways. If you've gotten the Instagram Stories update on your phone already, you'll see a row of circles at the top of your feed with people who have already posted Stories. A ring around the user's profile picture means there's a new story available for your viewing pleasure. Click on the circle for the Story you'd like to view, and swipe either direction to peruse Stories from accounts that you follow. Pro tip: If you have an iPhone and you have the ringer silenced with the switch on the side of your phone, you won't be able to hear any Story audio. To view Stories from public accounts that you don't follow, just click the round profile picture at the top of their profile page, but be warned that Instagram is letting users know every account that has viewed each Story.

Instagram Stories allow people to share the excitement behind the scenes of their more curated photo grid — think videos of hot, fresh In-N-Out animal-style fries, people complaining about traffic, or slideshows of all the failed dog pictures taken before you could get your favorite mutt properly in focus. To post your own Story, swipe right from your Instagram home screen, or hit the round Story button at the top lefthand corner of the screen. Seriously, it's that easy.

Images: Instagram, Giphy