Instagram have announced that they will be changing the way their Direct Messaging service works, in a post on their blog today. The latest update aims to simplify the messaging service. Users will now see their texts and reshares appear in the same conversations, displayed as an ongoing thread, meaning it's easier to continue the conversation, as well as easily add photos and disappearing videos. Instagram said of their Direct Messaging before its launch in 2013 that it was "a new way to send photo and video messages to friends…From a photo of your daily coffee to a sunrise shared from the top of a mountain hike, every Instagram moment contains something you find special." The service has certainly proved very popular amongst Instagram's user base – the number of people who regularly use the Direct Messaging service has steadily increased with around 375 million regular users today.
When users swipe left to open Direct Messaging from today, a new small blue icon will be visible at the bottom of the screen. Tap this icon to take a disappearing video or photo. The same icon will also be visible in existing threads – tap it to add a photo or video to the conversation. Once you're ready to send, tap the arrow icon and choose whether to share with as many friends or groups as you want. When a disappearing message is received, it shows blue in the user's inbox, until it's replayed.
Instagram says the changes mean that conversation between users will be "seamless" as everything now appears in the same thread. Until now, user's messages have appeared in two different places, with the permanent messages being displayed at the bottom of the user's screen, and the ephemeral messages appearing at the top. Now, the ephemeral messages will appear inside the user's permanent chat threads, making ongoing conversations easier to respond to. Previously, these messages were displayed on the Stories bar, which has been removed with this update. Ephemeral messaging was first launched by Instagram, along with its live-video service, in November last year and some believe that this update shows that most users prefer the more traditional forms of messaging which they are used to, and more comfortable with.