Instagram, like all social networks, is a digital place for getting together with friends. Like all social networks, however, Instagram is a place where we’ve all built up networks of people that aren’t our actual friends. We can find ourselves sharing our posts with people we barely know. For people who value their privacy, this is a real problem and for months Instagram has been working on a solution to this problem, a solution called ‘favorites.’ Now, after over 18 months of testing, the hip social network is ready to roll out the feature to everybody.
Instagram rolls out ‘close friends’ so that you can share your Stories with smaller groups
The new feature will only be limited to Instagram Stories. This means that anything you post to your profile will still be shared with everybody. Instagram hopes that the new limited groups of close friends will encourage users to share more.
When you post your Stories, you’ll be given an option to create a list of close friends that represent your inner circle. Instagram will suggest friends based on your prior interactions but ultimately, it’ll be up to you who you add to your list. According to Instagram, during the testing phase, people usually added around two dozen people to their list.
How to use Instagram close friends
When you’ve created an Instagram Story you want to share, you’ll notice a green circle with a white star on it. Clicking it will bring you to the “close friends” list where you can decide who will and won’t make the cut. As well as the friends Instagram suggests, you’ll also be able to search for friends using a search box. When you’ve completed your list of close friends, you’ll then be able to share your Stories exclusively with them by clicking the green circle before you hit share.
From the other end, whenever your friends receive a Story that has only been shared with close friends, they’ll see a green ring around the Story as it sits in the tray at the top of their feed. This means whenever you see a Story with a green ring instead of the typical pink ring, you will know that it is something personal that has come from a close friend. Other than the green ring, your close friends will receive no notifications telling them whether they’ve been added to or removed from your close friends list. This is because Instagram wanted to make sure there was no social stigma attached to the process of adding or removing friends from your list. (Shout out to memories of the MySpace Top 8.)
This is a positive move from Instagram that should encourage people to share more via Instagram Stories. As our Followers lists grow and we add more and more transient acquaintances to our social networks we become less and less likely to be as open. Adding close friends takes social networks back towards one of their main original purposes. Putting us in closer contact with the people we care about the most.