Why have only one when you can have 10? This is the thinking behind the latest Instagram feature, which enables users to upload as many as 10 photos or videos within a single post—essentially creating an album.
The feature, which was unveiled late last week, is technically known as Instagram Carousel, and it is seen as functionality that could have a significant impact on how Instagrammers summarize travel.
There’s one key difference between this newest feature and Instagram Stories. Stories, modeled after Snapchat, exist in a banner bar for a maximum of 24 hours only, while carousels exist in your regular feed in perpetuity, just like ordinary (read: stand-alone) Instagram photos or videos would.
The downsides to the new carousel feature: You can only use one caption for the bunch, and all content pieces must fit into Instagram’s square-only format.
Carousels are distinguished in the feed by a white icon in the upper right-hand corner that looks like a three-dimensional stack. When you click through to the lead image or video, a series of dots sit just above the caption, indicating there are multiple pieces of content in the sequence.
Users can swipe through the content in a carousel just as they would through images in a slide show.
According to an article on Techcrunch, users can edit carousel photos and videos individually or with a single filter on everything. A piece on Engadget noted that users can tag friends in individual photos and videos.
Obviously, there are significant implications of this new feature on travel narratives. Instead of visiting a faraway place and being forced to choose the perfect photo or video to represent an experience, Instagrammers now can select a handful of pieces of content to tell a rich story about the ins and outs of being there.
Kirsten Alana, an influencer and Instagram power user, is excited about the possibilities, saying that carousel is one of the best things Instagram has done to become more of an all-inclusive travel guide.
“If a single post can be more like a blog post, with photos and captions as well as geotagging and account tagging, those who report about and promote travel will be able to serve up more information per post, presumably helping people come to a decision quicker,” says Alana, who had more than 219,000 Instagram followers at last check. “Instead of having to reference multiple posts in a person’s feed, [travelers can turn to] these new posts for inspiration and/or information to assist them in planning travel—all the information they need is in one single result in a search.”
(To see Alana’s first-ever carousel post, click here.)
Technically, Instagram first launched photo carousel posts for businesses and advertisers back in 2015 and expanded them to include video last year. Last week’s release marks the first time this particular technology has been made available to users at large.
The new technology will be rolled out into iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com