Instagram

Instagram Stories adds “Chat” sticker to let you start group DMs with your followers

If you find yourself essentially living on Instagram and need a way to convene with your followers, you might opt for the new Stories sticker that's poised to make hanging out with everyone a lot easier. Instagram Stories' new feature is called the Chat sticker, and it's part of a new suite of tools Instagram has recently introduced to its Stories feature.

Among other interactive options like donations, hashtags, countdowns, mentions, and locations, the Chat feature is meant to be a way for influencers (or just run-of-the-mill users) to convene with their friends and followers to strike up a conversation, whatever the occasion may be.

All you have to do to gather users in one simple-to-use chat room is place a sticker on your Story. The Chat feature will allow those who check out your story to request access to the chat, which you'll need to approve. Chat requests will appear in your direct messages, so if you've got a lot of followers, you may be sifting through DMs for a while to grant people chat access.

Once in, everyone can chat to their heart's desire in the private area, and you can end it whenever you like – but it won't be accessible after that, so make sure you save anything you want to keep.

This feature is absolutely perfect for someone with thousands of followers or just a few, because while it allows for chatting on a large scale with multiple Instagram members, it still lets you employ the all-important tool of curation. You can allow you wish to speak in, and since you can close the chat at any time, there's no obligation to keep it going.

Ultimately, that means it's great for putting the control of communication back into the Instagram account owner's control. If there are too many offensive chatters or things get rowdier than expected, all they have to do is pull the plug immediately and start over with a new, curated chat without the guilty parties included. It's a lot easier to moderate like this than, say, a Twitch chat or DMs, all without the need of a block button as well.

It's also a feature that smaller Instagram users would like to use with their close-knit friend groups, or perhaps shop owners looking to do giveaways or hold brief brainstorming sessions with clients. In a world where those who follow their favorite personalities on the platform practically beg to be "noticed" in the form of comments or other interactions, it's a great way to offer the intimacy and "closeness" that many users crave from online personalities.

But more complicated matters aside, it has plenty of practical uses as well, such as giving users a way to communicate to mass audiences. And since we've all but grown past mass public chat rooms, perhaps it can even find a use as a substitute for the old AOL hangouts of yesteryear – provided anyone actually "hangs out" on Instagram beyond lurking or commenting on photos, anyway.