I spend a fair amount of time on social media and use each of them for a different purpose.
Facebook is my online journal where I save thoughts on life about once or twice a month. While I don’t post to Facebook often, I do scroll through every day, and it is the source of the most in-depth information on my loved ones’ daily lives.
Twitter is a once or twice a week visit for breaking news and to participate in communal events. I visit Pinterest only on occasion to get craft or travel tips. LinkedIn is a super quick daily check-in for career-related information.
But more and more, Instagram is my daily dose of what’s going on in my friends’ and colleagues’ lives, as well as the primary way I follow favorite bloggers, politicians, and entertainers. I check Instagram more often than all my other social media accounts combined.
I'm not alone. While Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, Instagram comes in second for American internet users. Pew Research Center's latest survey reports roughly 35 percent of Instagram users check it several times a day.
So if we’re using it so much, let me make it easier (or at least more fun) for you when you log on. Here are six Instagram hacks you probably never knew existed.
Zoom while recording a video to Stories.
While you are holding down the button to record a video to Stories, simply slide your thumb up or down to zoom in or out on the video.
Next time you post, when you get to the filters page, scroll to the far right and click "Manage." Hold down the three gray lines next to the filter and drag them to reorder. To delete one, just click the check mark to the right of the filter’s name. By the way, when I went to this screen, there were about 15 filters already unchecked that I had no idea were available to me.
Use Instagram as a photo editor.
Maybe you love the editing tools on Instagram and want to use them for a photo you don’t necessarily want to publish on Instagram. Go ahead. First turn on “Save Original Photo” in Instagram’s settings. Then switch to airplane mode on your phone. Follow the normal steps to edit and post a photo to Instagram, but when you tap "Share," the app gives you an error message. It will say that the photo failed to publish, or that it will try to send the photo again when there’s a better connection. Simply tap the "X" to remove the photo. Either way, the edited photo will now be available in your phone’s photo gallery.
Scroll through posts without worrying about accidentally liking them.
This can be an issue if you’re looking through someone’s old posts (a.k.a. stalking) and don’t want to oops a double-tap. It happens. If you want to be totally sure it does not happen, wait until the photos load, then switch into airplane mode. Without internet access, you are actually unable to like a photo. Stalk away.
Customize your ad experience.
We all see ads on our Instagram feeds. If we have to put up with ads, they may as well be ones that pique our interest. Next time an ad comes up on your feed, click the three dots next to the photo and then click "Hide Ad" if it doesn’t speak to you. You can then tell Instagram why you don’t want to see it, and in turn, you tweak the app’s algorithm to show you a more relevant ad next time.
Create a solid color background on Instagram stories.
Sometimes you don’t want an actual photo in your story, but instead, just some text or icons. You can do it. Just follow the normal procedure for adding to your story. Tap the pen icon and select a color. When you hold down anywhere on the screen for a few seconds, the screen will fill with a solid color. Then you can add text, drawings or icons on top of that background. For a different look, select the chisel-tip brush instead of the marker or neon brush. Then, when you select a color and hold down on the screen, it will create a translucent overlay of that color on top of whatever photo you selected for your story.
With this new knowledge, you may now consider yourself an Instagram pro user. These hacks will help make your Instagram experience even better. Happy stalking.