(Hypebot) — Once the exclusive purview of users with 10K followers or more, Instagram may soon allow any average social media Joe to post links in their stories.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Move over, users with 10,000 followers or more. Instagram may soon allow everyone to share links in their Stories updates.
Anyone on Instagram is familiar with the phrase, “swipe up.” That lingo informs the viewer of someone’s Instagram story that they can swipe up on an image or video to reach an external website. Such link-sharing is limited to users with over 10,000 followers and verified accounts, but those rules may soon change.
The Verge recently broke the news that Instagram is quietly testing a new Stories feature that will allow all users to share links. In this case, however, it isn’t a swipe up that people will offer, but instead a linking sticker. These stickers will operate the same way a swipe-up link does, except with a tap instead of a swipe. People can also respond to stories that include a sticker, which they can’t currently do with stories that have a swipe up.
But don’t get too excited. The test group for Instagram’s new feature is reportedly very small, and the company has yet to reveal a timeline for public launch.
Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product, tells The Verge it’s mostly to learn how people might take advantage of links. They’ll be watching for the types of links people post while keeping a careful eye on misinformation and spam. Plus, stickers, he says, fit more into the current way people use the platform, so he says this test “brings links into the same kind of overall system, which from a simplicity of system perspective, also makes a lot of sense.”
He adds that link stickers are the eventual goal for Instagram, whether for everyone or just people who already have linking privileges. “That is the sort of future system we would like to get to,” he says. “And that’s what we hope to roll out if we’re able to make this work.”
As for traditional Instagram posts, which appear in a user’s main feed, there are no plans to allow links with any photo or video captions.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.