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Instagram test feature lets you post text statuses for your followers

Instagram test feature lets you post text statuses for your followers


Followers can respond with a message before a note disappears

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The Instagram icon is featured in the middle of a background filled with pink, orange, and purple shapes.
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

Instagram’s test of a new feature that lets you post a text note to your followers appears to be getting a wider rollout, XDA Developers reports. When available, the feature displays in the messages section of the app, below the search bar. “Share what’s on your mind…” the prompt in the text box reads, according to a screenshot posted by XDA. “People won’t be notified when you leave a note. They can see your note for 24 hours and reply with a message.” 

TechCrunch reported in June that the feature was being tested with a limited selection of users, but the fact that XDA has the feature working on multiple devices suggests its availability is expanding. Notes can be up to 60 characters in length, according to TechCrunch.

Instagram Screenshot showing a text box to write a note.
A dialogue box explains that notes disappear after 24 hours.
Image: XDA Developers

The disappearing nature of these notes make them seem a lot like text-based versions of Instagram Stories, which typically revolve around photos and videos rather than text. But they also bring to mind MSN Messenger’s classic status feature, which let you set a small string of text by your screen name for all your contacts on the popular* 00s chat app to see.

Ostensibly this was so you could share practical details like whether you were busy or up for chatting, but in practice I only ever saw it used to share (horribly emo) song lyrics, and coded messages about who you had a crush on at the time (Gemma, if you’re reading this, call me?). 

As with all these features, it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram’s user base makes use of the notes functionality in practice. Will people use it for practical purposes, or are we looking at the next canvas for some good old-fashioned flirting/shitposting? I know which option I’m betting on. 

A spokesperson from Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the apparent expansion of the notes feature test, so it’s unclear when it could get a widespread launch. “We’re always working on ways to help you better connect on Instagram. We’re now testing Notes so people can quickly share thoughts with their friends, with a small group of people to start,” a spokesperson for the company previously told TechCrunch.

Notes joins a long list of changes that Instagram has been spotted testing recently, which include ditching the shopping tab from the home feed, as well as a new safety feature to detect unsolicited nude photos.

*Apparently MSN Messenger was never really a thing in the US, where I gather you were all obsessed with AOL Instant Messenger and its iconic Away Messages instead?