Instagram is still exploring what types of more traditional (feed-based) social interactions in can inject into the Stories format. The company has integrated some of these experimentations into Stories pretty seamlessly so far, mainly because they haven’t been all that jarringly text-heavy. They’ve introduced a slider and polling widget that accompany questions users can slap onto photos or videos they’ve taken, but for the most part it’s all been pretty simplistic.
Instagram is wading deeper into the waters of a feed/stories hybrid as it seeks to foster greater interaction out of a medium that has always seemed to be at its best when it comes to passively sucking up content. A new “Questions Sticker,” which the company is introducing today, gives users a way to ask their followers for questions that they can then selectively share and reply to publicly inside their Stories feed.
This functionality could be a major boon to “influencers” on the platform who have plenty of curious fans who are interested in finding out more about them in a way that’s a little less aggressive than sending a DM. The way the original poster can see all the various responses while others cannot is certainly a bit unique compared to the typical commenting situation on an Instagram post, and while it might not give all users an eye into a conversation, there’s a lot less potential for things going wrong.
Instagram seems to be treading pretty carefully on the privacy front these days, you won’t even be able to see the handle of the person who asked a question to a user, this whole process is about the outward projection rather than the conversation which is a unique evolution for an interaction between two users on Instagram.
Whether these new updates are just tests or signs of an ideological shift is likely just dependent on how popular they grow to become. Instagram Stories is a copied feature that has become core to the app, but it’s clear that Instagram is looking to evolve the medium and put their own spin on it that builds out more interactions between users.