Instagram is one of those platforms, like Twitter, that I've always considered the content I post to be visible to the masses. Yes, I know both have a "private" option for accounts, but I've always thought the value in both was in interacting with people outside your circle.
And then I started using Instagram Stories. While I have no problem with strangers commenting on and looking at my carefully selected Instagram pics, my Stories tend to be a bit more personal. This week Instagram rolled out a new feature so that you can keep those personal, while still keeping your account (and the stories you choose) public.
Earlier this year I finally fell down the rabbit hole that is Instagram Stories, and now I spend way too much time on Instagram. This week, the app started rolling out a new feature to combat Insta-addiction, a "Your Activity" tracker that shows you how much time you spend in the app, and lets you set limits to help reduce the number of hours you pour into scrolling you feed each day.
Called Close Friends, the feature allows you to choose whether an image is shared with the masses or just people on your close friends list when you add it to a story. No one will know whether they've made the cut to your "close friends" list or not, so you can select whomever you'd like to be included.
To use it, you first (obviously) have to create a close friends list.
Do that by tapping your profile icon within the Instagram app and then tapping the hamburger icon at the top-right corner of the page. From there, select "Close Friends List" from the drop-down menu. You can manually add people by clicking the "add" button beside their name, you can also tap "Suggestions" to make things a little easier (Instagram will surface people you interact with often on the platform).
Once you've made a list, you'll start seeing a "Close Friends" icon when you create an Instagram story. Tap it, and the story will be sent to just your close friends.
Worth noting: "Close Friends" stories are designated with a green circle around them rather than a red one. So, while you won't know that you're specifically on a friend's "Close Friends" list you will know a story you're viewing was sent to only close friends (so you'll be able to figure out you're on someone's list pretty quickly).
Also, worth noting: Images shared in "Close Friends" stories can't be shared elsewhere, so you don't have to worry about your cover being blown by a close friend sharing your pic on their stream.