At a press event Today in New York, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom announced that Instagram is introducing private photo-sharing and messaging called – Instagram Direct.
To date Instagram has always been a primarily public social network based on a broadcast structure instead of connections based on mutual friendship such as Facebook. Instagram direct marks a new phase for the company.
With Instagram Direct users who have connected with each other will be able to send each other private photos and videos along with a message. This deviates from Instagram’s common interactions; to like or publicly comment on pictures.
Here is the process:
When you post a picture (same method that you’ve been using to post pictures on Instagram), you’ll notice two new tabs on the top of the post: Followers and Direct.
With Direct, you can now choose specific friends (Up to 15 people) and type a special message that will be delivered only to your friend(s). Once that friend opens up the photo, their profile picture within the message gets a check mark, noting that it’s been read.
Users can also interact with direct photo messages, and conversation can ensue from there.
Keep in mind users can not send text-only messages to each other, but must send pictures to start the chat function.
This new layer of messaging adds significant engagement to the app.