This New Instagram Stories Update Is Super Cool

Get ready, Instagram fiends, because a new Instagram Stories update will take your slideshows to a whole new level. Released on Nov. 10, the Stories update adds two new features, plus a test of a third for some users: You'll now be able to @mention people and use the Boomerang camera in Stories; additionally, some users (verified accounts only, alas) will now have access to a test letting them include links in Stories. These features might not sound like a whole lot, but, to quote someone much smarter than me, though they be but little, they are fierce. Seriously, you guys: They are so cool.

Instagram Stories debuted in August of 2016, thereby giving us a way to share not just one photo or video at a time, but rather to compile a whole bunch of photos and videos together into a slideshow. While they initially drew a lot of comparisons to Snapchat — like Snaps, Stories vanish after a certain amount of time — as the months have rolled along, Stories have set themselves apart as a totally different beast.

Both individuals and brands have been using Stories in increasingly creative ways; Bustle, for example, has created several docuseries, including “Dating With Emma,” in which we follow our intrepid Web Culture Editor, Emma Lord, as she goes on a first date with someone new every two weeks, and “The Reel Deal,” in which Associate Entertainment Editor Rachel Simon gives us the rundown on what movies might be worth checking out each weekend. The storyteller in me wonders if there’s room for fictional narratives here, too; the horror film Sickhouse demonstrated how Snapchat could be used to shoot an entire feature, for example, so I feel there’s a lot of potential there for Instagram Stories as well.

Here’s what you can expect to be able to do in the new update:

@Mention Other Users In Stories

Stories haven’t included @mentions before — but they do now! Mentioning someone in a Story works pretty much the same way as it does in captions and comments; when you're creating a Story, just add text to it and type the @username of the person you want to mention. The username will then appear in your Story — and when someone watching the Story taps that username, they'll be able to go visit that person's profile via a pop-up:

If you've been mentioned in someone else's Story, you'll get a notification from the app telling you so.

Use The Boomerang Camera In Stories

Boomerang, a separate app from Instagram, lets you create images that are probably best described as a cross between a GIF and a video (here’s how to use it) — and now, with Boomerang camera integration, you’ll be able to include Boomerangs in your Instagram Stories. It’ll bring a whole new type of image to your slideshow, boosting your social media game immeasurably. To use it, swipe right from your feed to pull up the Stories camera— and then, just select the Boomerang option instead of the regular camera one.

Add Links To Stories

If you have access to this test, when you’re creating a Story, you can click the white “link” icon at the top of the screen seen here and add a link to it.

When other users watch your story, they’ll now see some text at the bottom of the screen that says “See More.” Swiping up on those words will allow them to click the link, which will then take them to wherever you directed the link to go.

As a reminder, the ability to add links is just in the testing phase for now; it's limited to verified accounts. But if all goes well, hopefully we'll all be able to link away in our Stories at will.

Happy 'Gramming, folks!

Images: Bustle (4); Instagram