By: Nick Gambino

Instagram seems to release major updates to their platform on a monthly basis. Probably in accord with the Michael Jackson way of thinking, “To remain relevant you must be ever-changing.”

It’s a bit hard to stay up on the latest but that’s what we’re here for. Let’s take a look at the new features that the Facebook-owned social media platform has added in the last month.

Follow Hashtags

Much in the way you can follow people, the newest Instagram update includes the ability to follow a hashtag. So let’s say you’re a hot dog fiend and love, strangely, staring at photos of delicious hot dogs. You can now follow #hotdog to make sure you don’t miss a single photo or video of this “nutritious” food.

When searching for a hashtag or clicking on one in a post you’ll be taken to a page with the most popular and most recent posts with that hashtag. By clicking “Follow” at the top, posts with this hashtag will begin appearing in your feed.

Add Older Content to Stories

For the longest time Stories only allowed you to add videos and photos from the last 24 hours. Seeing as though this feature was almost a direct copy of Snapchat, I guess it made sense. But that doesn’t mean the limitation wasn’t irritating. A recent update finally changed this with the ability to add older content to your Stories.

Split-Screen When Using Instagram Live

Encouraging further interaction, you can now invite another user to share your Instagram Live screen. It’s pretty simple to use. Once you start your broadcast you’ll see a little icon with two overlapping smiling faces in the bottom right side of the screen. Tap on it and you’ll get a list of viewers tuning in. Select one to invite them to join you. Once they accept, you’ll share the screen in split-screen mode.


Similar to Boomerang, we’ve now got another way to liven up our videos. Superzoom lets you create a dramatic quick zoom with added sound effects. It’s easy to use. Located next to Boomerang in the camera tool, select it to open it up.

Now simply point and shoot for up to 15 seconds. The camera will zoom in in three phases in the span of 3 seconds. You can record up to 15 seconds but the majority of that time will be a slow intense zoom of the last phase of zooming.

So those are the major Instagram updates in the past month or so. I’m sure we can expect at least a couple of more before the end of 2017.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.