In the midst of our grey times, it could be difficult even for the optimistic ones to look for the silver lining as all you see is topics, news and the community focused on how this pandemic has turned the world upside down.
Yes, it’s important to be aware and informed, but, there’s a life beyond this pandemic and most of us could tap it by being mindful, looking at the bright side, being grateful, absorbing the right content and most importantly, Staying home.
Here’s how Instagram has helped us stay connected, be informed, spread awareness and positivity during these trying times.
You may have noticed how every other Instagram account or brand has been using the Live feature and how it has skyrocketed in the past month while we’ve been home.
It’s one of the most relevant and cost-effective ways to keep in touch in real-time with your audience.
The Live stream option also has a feature that allows you to add users who can request to be in your videos and this has lead to interesting collaborations between brands, celebrities, bloggers, influencers and creators.
The most recent one I saw was a recipe swap between two chefs who went live and baked cookies from each other’s recipes in their respective homes keeping in mind the ingredients that are available in the home kitchen during a lockdown.
The other one is workouts by Cassey Ho- Blogilates who conducts simple no-equipment bodyweight workouts via the Live feature 💪
Instagram’s newest feature was released keeping in mind socialising while social distancing and self-isolation during these trying times.
You can add up to 6 users in this video calling feature and each of them can then share images and videos once you tap on the “Posts” button.
The images and videos are the ones we’ve Liked, Saved or we see as suggestions by Instagram.
Here’s a step by step guide to using Instagram’s Co-Watching feature-
Step 1: Open the Instagram app on your mobile device and click on the airplane icon at the top right of your screen to access your direct messages.
Step 2: Search the person you want to use Instagram Co-Watching with or select their usernames from the list. You can add up to 6 persons to your video and wait to connect.
Step 3: Once your video chat has started, click the ‘Media’ icon on the bottom of your screen.
Step 4: Select the image/ video from your ‘Liked’ or ‘Saved’ posts you want to look at with the other people on your video call. You can switch the image on display at any time, and your friends can swap out their own liked and saved posts too.
Remember there was a time we thought IGTV was not going to replace any of our other sources of video content?
We’re on the other side, scrolling and saving recipes, DIY videos, Makeup tutorials and hacks we could try to keep ourselves and our minds occupied.
And now, we’re also consuming magazine content on IGTV? 😲
Yes, one of the most innovative IGTV concepts I came across was Cosmopolitan India’s free-for-consumption digital #WORKFROMHOME magazine in which each page is an exclusive video or content created by celebrities, chefs and influencers who’ve been a part of the magazine for yesteryears.
It’s raw, real and so good, amongst others.
4. Access to Accurate Information
Instagram ensures you access accurate information by making changes to their search option when you look up for Corona Virus, it shows up all relevant sources along with the link to — World Health Organization and other local reliable sources of accurate information to ensure you’re not absorbing unverified and counterfeit information.
They’ve also put all efforts to downrank content and remove the ones that have been rated false by fact-checkers or the ones that are flagged by the community.
Memes on Instagram are definitely easing the pandemic stress and putting smiles on our otherwise worried faces and fearful minds.
Here’s an Instagram account I came across that partnered with Instagram and WHO to spread awareness on cardboard with subtle humour 😃
6. DM on web app
Instagram had been testing this feature for a while and recently announced it live for all users 🎊
What better time than this to stay connected through your browser when your phone is dying due to excessive scrolling or virtual Ludo?
The feature remains the same, you can search for users and DM, makes it easier to have group chats and also share photos from the desktop.
If you enable notifications for the Instagram, you’d be able to see your DM notifications pop up too.
7. Stickers & GIFs
Instagram story feature in itself has so many filters, stickers, GIFs and other options to make things more informative, prominent, fun and quirky.
They recently added more than a few stickers such as ‘Stay at home’, ‘Thank you hour’ and ‘Thank you health workers’ keeping in mind social distancing and gratitude, especially towards our health workers.
- Stay at Home — This sticker was created as a “Shared Story” feature by Instagram to help those practising social distancing connect with others, using a “Stay Home” sticker.
- Thank you hour — This sticker in stories lets you show gratitude for what is helping you through this time. When you use the sticker, your photo or video will be added to a shared Instagram story at 7 PM where your friends can see your gratitude story.
Here’s how you can add GIFs & stickers to your Instagram story-
– Tap on the sticker option at the top of your screen
– Scroll down for stickers
– For GIFs, you can either select a trending GIF or search for one.
You can add and layer as many GIF stickers from GIPHY to your Stories as you want!
Additionally, Instagram has also worked on other stickers and they’ll roll it out soon worldwide —
- The donation sticker in more countries to help people find relevant nonprofits to support.
- They’ve also been super thoughtful about small business affected and launched stickers that encourage people to purchase gift cards, order food or donate to fundraisers.
That’s all folks! 🙌