Instagram stories captivate WCHS users


Courtesy of Lauren Hando

Hando posted a congratulatory photo for senior Halle Pogorelc on her commitment to Wisconsin. WCHS seniors have been using Instagram stories to shout out their friends in honor of their future college.

By Eliza Asbury and Jenna Greenzaid

Just when we thought social media could not possibly captivate our attention, energy, and time any longer, the Instagram story feature scrolled into our lives. The circles sit right at the top of the screen when you open the app, begging to be opened.

Instagram has long since become a regular social media platform for teenagers, but its developers continue to update the design and incorporate more user-friendly elements, such as stories.

The concept of a “story” on social media was popularized by Snapchat in 2013, allowing users to make public posts that last for only 24 hours. When Instagram first added stories to its platform in 2015, many thought it was just a blatant copy of Snapchat that would not pick up much ground. But four years later, many would say Instagram stories nm,have maybe even surpassed the popularity of Snapchat stories, at least at WCHS.

“I think that Instagram is a great platform for people to get their voices heard and that it could lead to healthy conversation,” senior Andrew Ha said. “Instagram stories have gotten so popular because they are so accessible and easy to make. There are a variety of options within the app that make creating content a lot more appealing and easy to read.”

The reason for the popularity of Instagram stories is the 24-hour expiration. Any Instagram story only lasts on the app for one day, automatically deleting once the day is over.

“They are a way for people to post pictures they like a lot but only have up for a day,” senior Lauren Hando said. “The pictures that I post on Instagram are normally my favorite pictures that I’m in while my Instagram stories are pictures of places, food, and friends.”

Part of what made Instagram stories able to compete with Snapchat is the additional tools Instagram added to its stories. Instagram lets you post music and create a draft of a story that has multiple slides, while also having the same drawing, typing, and sticker features that Snapchat offers. Due to these unique features, users have the freedom to be a little more artistic when posting stories. The pictures are maneuvered, edited, and designed to fit a layout or aesthetic that is pleasing.

“Typically I format my Instagram stories as a collage, or as a series of photos with block writing, and it takes me about ten minutes,” sophomore Jessica Hu said. “I use apps including Layout, Pic Collage, Snapseed, and Unfold.”

Designing an Instagram story has become a new “aesthetic” competition, with users trying to make their stories look more appealing than their friends. Usually, though, the intricacy of the story design depends on the occasion the story was posted for.

“It takes anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes,” Hando said. “It depends on whether it’s a quick picture that I take or if it’s an elaborate birthday post.”

There are multiple ways to design an Instagram story, from using the Instagram app itself to downloading separate applications such as Pic College or Pic Edit.

“Normally I just edit straight on Instagram for a story but I’ll occasionally use pic collage if I want to post multiple pictures at once,” Hando said.

If you are a senior at WCHS and you are still stressing about where you are going to go to college, Instagram stories are the last place to go. It has become the new norm to post a story for your close friend after they commit to their “next 4.” The problem is, it seems to be a new person every single day getting showered with congratulations on Instagram.

“I try to keep up with Instagram stories but often times my feed is bloated with them and it makes it a chore to go through all of them,” Ha said.

With yet another “chore” to carry out, many people may feel that this would be another stressor for social media users. While some do feel this way, the Instagram stories feature is more of an outlet for users to express their ideas and thoughts more freely.

“These people are entitled to their feelings, but I would politely disagree because I think in fact it produces less pressure because it is temporary and far fewer people often see them,” Hu said. “Personally I find posting Instagram photos more stressful because they are a permanent representation of my life and what I am doing in it.”

For now, Instagram stories aren’t going anywhere. These quick 15 second stories are giving users a new voice and allowing them to express themselves more artistically.

“I like using Instagram stories because I love taking pictures and it’s a way for me to share pictures with my friends without over posting,” Hando said.