Instagram has added another update that users will either hate or love: status indicators. That's right — the direct message section of the app will now tell users if their friends are active.
Online users will now have a green dot next to their profile picture. Not only will the dot show up in the direct messaging screen, it'll also appear in the friends selection screen when sharing a post with someone. Instagram clarifies that the green dot will only be activated for certain people.
"You will only see status for friends who follow you or people who you have talked to in Direct," the company said.
Instagram Adds Green Dot Online Indicator
Those who love the idea of the feature can regard it as an added level of engagement with people they already know. Those who hate it, however, can turn it off in the Activity Status section of the app's Settings menu. It'll be set to on by default, it should be noted.
Before the addition of the green dot, Instagram already displayed the last time a user was online, indicating if they were "Active 1 day ago" or "Active Now." The fact that these features are turned on by default is a sign that Instagram wants the app to be more like Facebook, where people can see their friends' activity status all the time unless they specifically opt out.
Is Instagram Becoming More Like Facebook? Yes
No surprise there, though: the company is owned by Facebook, and for years Instagram has been evolving from merely a photo-sharing service into a full-fledged social media platform. For those who would rather use a calmer, less convoluted app, this is a bummer. But hyperawareness is the bane of our modern, connected lives.
"DMing friends and connecting over the content you love is more fun when you know your friends are there to see it," the company said in a blog post. "This update gives you the ability to have more of those realtime conversations while giving you the control to hide your status altogether."
Some might regard it unfortunate that Instagram is turning into a more savage social media beast, but other users might not even mind, or fail to notice it completely. Instagram has applied the same strategy Facebook uses, which is to roll out new features slowly so as not to shock users with radical changes. Before they know it, Instagram will have turned into a full-on social media network. That's kind of happening already, though: just last month IGTV was officially launched, Instagram's own "TV" platform. In short, it's not just a photo/video app anymore.
With all the changes arriving, hopefully Instagram eventually decides to revert to its much-requested chronological feed, too, but that's not happening anytime soon.