Apparently, we're living in the summer of Instagram, because surprise, they've introduced yet another round of platform updates, this time focused on hashtag- and location-specific stories. Exciting, right? But, how do you know if you have Instagram location and hashtag stories? As is true with so many things in life, when you have them, you'll know (cue winky face emoji).
In a blog post earlier on May 23, the Instagram team introduced a two-fold platform update whose goal, like so much of social media, is to foster a digital sense of community that translates to experiences IRL. "Now you can see what’s happening around you and find stories related to your interests," they wrote.
First up: location stories on the Explore page. These are available on iOS and Android with the latest Instagram update (10.22 in both the Apple App Store and Google Play). Once you've downloaded the latest version and re-opened Instagram on your phone, a new story ring (read: the pulsating rainbow border that indicates some fresh story content) should appear at the top of your Explore page, highlighting the goings-on near you. For instance, if you're in NYC, you'll see the local New York, New York story.
You can also search for any location in the world, and see what's what over there — wherever "there" is.
Tag your story content with your location, and you, too, may end up starring in the ~official~ location feed. Sound familiar? Snapchat rolled out a similar feature several years ago, though its compilation was one, continuous feed rather than individual posts. Instagram's "twist" on this concept leads us to their second update: hashtag stories.
Hashtag stories, which collect videos and photographs tagged under the same hashtag, is also rolling out. The concept is very similar to the location stories: search a hashtag, and posts tagged #OOTD, for example, or #OnTheTable, will appear as a story ring at the top of the results page.
If you're uncomfortable with the general public viewing your story but still feel the need to get that location or hashtag in there, there's an exemption escape-hole. At the top of your story's viewer list, you'll see a notification that your content has been added to the public feed as well. Smash that "x" button, and you'll be removed.
Excited? Go get that new iOS or Android update, then! Start letting us all know exactly where you are so we can be jealous and irritated that we're not also there! What better way to showboat on social media?!