In the spirit of social media always changing, naturally there have been some updates since we wrapped our story “Your Social-Media Questions…Answered!” (pg. 36 of the May/June 2024 issue) and production on this issue began. Fortunately, this editor’s note is always the last piece of the puzzle I work on, so I can include them.
   Following are some new features Instagram has either just rolled out or is testing for future release. Features in testing mode may be available on some accounts right now but not others, and aren’t guaranteed to become actual things unless Instagram decides to adopt them:

• 15-Photo Carousels. Say goodbye to Instagram’s current 10 photo/video clip limit and hello to even more sharing!

• Reply to specific Carousel images/videos. When a series of multiple photos/video clips is posted in a Carousel, you’ll be able to reply to individual ones instead of the post as a whole. You’ll just need to use the @ sign to reference the photo you are mentioning. For example, if you want to reply to the fourth photo in a Carousel, you’ll write @4 and a thumbnail of the fourth photo will appear in your reply.

• Credit for original creators. Coming soon: a way to trace reposted content back to its original creator. That means when you repost something like a meme, it will be obvious to others it did not originate from you. Along with this, accounts that simply repost other peoples’ content as opposed to producing original content will no longer be featured in the recommendations section. This is part of Instagram’s push to reward people who post original, high-quality content on its site.

• Longer Reels. Instagram is currently testing an option that would allow people to upload Reels that may go as long as 10 minutes. Some boutiques we’ve heard from have been able to test a three-minute long video option recently. This change is rumored to be prompted by competition from TikTok, which rolled out longer 10-minute videos in 2022.

• Pinned Chats. This feature would allow you to pin certain chats to the top of your inbox so they do not get lost in the sea of messages you receive.

• Notify Stickers. If you have a professional account, you can post a Notify sticker on your Story; anyone who taps it can then choose which content of yours to receive notifications for (i.e. posts, Reels, Stories, etc). This is meant to help ensure fans don’t miss your content.

• Edit DMs. Worried about a typo? Fret no more! Simply press and hold a sent message, then select “edit” from the pop-up menu. This feature is available for up to 15 minutes after sending.

• Zoom in on profile pictures. Simply press and hold a user’s profile picture from their profile page. You’ll see a larger photo as well as options to share the profile, copy its link or receive a QR Code.

• AI Influencers (aka “Creator A.I.”). Popular influencers will be able to create AI bots of themselves to help interact with the large influx of messages they receive. Meta will use their DMs, comments and audio to emulate their voice and style so these bots appear realistic.