With so much of the world making a conscious effort to avoid most physical social interaction, Instagram has launched a new “Co-Watching” feature in an effort to help users connect through video chat.
What Is Instagram’s Co-Watching Feature?
Co-Watching, Instagram’s newest media sharing feature, allows users to browse Instagram posts and share content with up to six friends at a time over in-app video chat.
While users can’t necessarily scroll through their typical Instagram feeds, they can create lists of content they’d like to share in group video chats by liking or saving relevant posts, which can then be accessed in-stream. Users simply start video chats through the Instagram Direct messaging tab and click the photo icon at the bottom left of the screen. From there, users choose from Instagram content they’ve previously bookmarked (plus suggested posts) to share with the groups with which they’re video-chatting.
Why Did Instagram Create Co-Watching?
The need for remote workplace and video-calling apps has risen significantly over the past few weeks as more and more people practice social distancing. As a result, many brands (like Instagram) have created innovative ways to allow people to connect with each other while stuck at home.
According to an Instagram spokesperson, the social platform sped up the launch of Co-Watching in order to meet the demand for this virtual connectivity, stating, “We decided to make it available soon so we could offer more ways for people to come together right now.”
To put it simply, the world is craving more social options. One of the things people will surely begin to miss the most while at home is basic human contact — being able to share funny stories, complain about their days and the everyday conversations we take for granted. Instagram’s Co-Watching can facilitate this human connection void by providing users with an alternate option to stay in touch with friends in a fun, engaging way, all in real-time.
How Has Instagram Remained Relevant And Effective In A Time Of Crisis?
The launch of Co-Watching comes on the heels of Instagram’s vast efforts to respond to COVID-19, including:
- The removal of all unofficial COVID-19 accounts and virus-related content from the Explore page if it is not shared from a credible health organization.
- The creation of COVID-19-related Instagram story stickers, including the reminder to users to wash their hands and keep their distance from others and the “Stay Home” sticker, featuring a shared Instagram Story of all the user posts promoting the stay home message.
- The addition of educational information and prevention tips for Coronavirus to the top of user results for all related searches.
- The donation sticker expansion to more countries so users can search for and ask friends for contributions to relevant nonprofits.
The launch of Co-Watching will likely remain a powerful feature long after the need for social distancing ends. Fellow brands, however, should take note of the many innovations Instagram has put forth in the wake of COVID-19. The social platform was able to recognize a void in their users’ lives and throughout the world, and, in response, came up with a variety of ways to connect people across the globe through efforts that are also beneficial to the larger issue at hand.
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