In an attempt to entertain people who are bored or anxious or sad at home, Instagram announced several new features this week. (To those of you who are bored or anxious or sad at home because you are in a position to be able to stay home … thank you for doing so.) One of the features you may have already noticed this week, the “STAY AT HOME” sticker, which aggregates content from people you follow who are using the sticker into a Story fill of socially distant content.
Another, the company announced on Tuesday, is a group video-chatting feature. “Co-Watching, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat,” Instagram explained in a blog post.
Normally, in the before times, I might write about how such a tool could easily be used for bullying. How this is effectively what people do in group chats when they screenshot a particularly bad post and then send it around for discussion. But this is not the before time — though that concern remains legitimate — and nothing is normal. So, instead, I say, “Hell yeah!” and I offer you this suggestion: Host a roast. Get some friends together on Instagram and pick a friend to own, lovingly, into oblivion. Scroll all the way back to their oldest posts, the most embarrassing ones from when nobody knew what a “personal brand” was and over-filtering photos until everybody looked orange was au courant. And then tell that friend how you really feel.
To use the chatting feature, make sure you’re running the latest version of the app. You’ll have to have saved or liked (saves are not visible, so if you’re taking the mean route maybe, uh, don’t like the photos) the images you want to discuss, so do that in advance. “You can start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread, then view saved, liked and suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner in an ongoing video chat,” according to Instagram. Happy