Instagram Stories Empowers Creators With Mentions, URL Links, And Boomerang Videos

Posting so-called stories to social media is one of the hottest trends right now, though it also means there exists some overlap. That's especially true with Instagram stories and Snapchat stories, two very similar things, though the former is introducing some nifty new tricks that will help it stand apart from the latter. One of those tricks is the use of links.

Instagram is testing the ability to add links at the bottom of stories. Verified account holders can access the feature and add clickable URLs to their stories, which appear viewers can access by clicking on "See More" at the bottom or by swiping up. It's a clever and cleaner looking alternative to posting the actual link, some of which can be rather long.


The obvious downside here is that users can't see the link before they click on it—they just have to trust that tapping on "See More" won't get them Rickrolled or, even worse, thrust into a NSFW website when other eyeballs might be hovering over their shoulder. On the plus side, Instagram will be monitoring URLs for links that run afoul of its ToS.

Another new feature to Instagram stories is Boomerang, its year-old app for making video loops. It's now integrated into Instagram. Swiping right from the feed opens the stories camera, and from there users will find a new format picker under the record button that lets them select Boomerang. When using it, Instagram stitches together a burst of photos into a mini loop that can be played forward or backward.

Finally, there are Mentions. This works in stories the same way it does in captions and comments—when adding text to a story, typing the "@" symbol followed by the username of the person who's getting a mention and it will appear in the story. Viewers can then tap on the mention to be taken to their profile. Instagram allows for adding up to 10 mentions, though plopping that many into a single story can feel cluttered.