Instagram is turning on a feature that many users have asked for, letting users add photos and videos from their camera roll – even if they’re older than 24 hours. The limitation in place previously seemed designed to encourage Stories to be more of a repository for spur of the moment sharing (as well as a more accurate copy of the original Snapchat product), but Instagram seems to be fine with sacrificing spontaneity in favor of giving users more flexibility.
It’s easy to make use of this feature: When posting a new story, just swipe up to access your device’s photos, including a section of images captured in the last 24 hours, and then the rest of your Camera Roll beyond that. Tap any video or picture, edit as desired, and add to your story as you would any other image.
This probably reflects a change in the way users view Stories – it’s less about the ‘now’-ness of the media, I’d argue, and more about users wanting a way to share that’s less permanent and more casual than the main feed. Younger users were already frequently posting and then deleting posts in the main feed, according to multiple usage studies, so shifting direction to encourage Stories as the main place to do that kind of thing is a smart move.
The big question is whether this eventually creates a group of two separate primary users on the platform – those who post Stories, and those who post to the feed. Instagram’s clearly willing to follow where users lead with the app, so it’s a definite possibility.