인스타그램, 활동 상태 보여주는 ‘도트(Status Dot)’ 새기능 추가

[외신]인스타그램, 활동 상태 보여주는 ‘도트(Status Dot)’ 새기능 추가

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인스타그램(Instagram)이 사용자의 활동 상태를 나타내는 도트(Status Dot) 서비스를 선보인다.

도트는 특정 사용자의 접속 유무를 녹색으로 보여주는 기능으로, 다이렉트 메시지(Direct Message)를 보내거나 포스트를 공유할 시 나타난다.

인스타그램 측은 “도트가 이미 친구이거나 DM을 통해 직접적으로 대화 한 사람에게만 보이기 때문에 사용자 간의 대화를 적극 권장하고, 원하지 않을 경우 언제든지 비활성화할 수 있다”라고 말했다.

최근까지 인스타그램은 사용자의 활동 상태를 “최근 활동: 23분 전” 또는 “현재 활동 중”과 같은 시간으로 표시했었다. 하지만 사용자들에게 이러한 시간 개념이 너무 딱딱하게 느껴질 수 있다고 판단해 이번 서비스를 도입하게 됐다고 전했다.

하지만 도트가 이전 서비스들과 별반 다르지 않다는 우려의 목소리도 나오고 있다. 실시간으로 표시되는 활동 상태를 벗어나겠다던 인스타그램이 점점 페이스북 메신저와 유사한 형태로 변하고 있다는 것인데. 차라리 눈에 잘 띄지 않던 “최근 활동:23분 전”이 낫다는 의견도 있다.

페이스북과 마찬가지로 인스타그램도 디자인에 작은 변화를 늘려가는 중이다. 하지만 이전부터 인스타그램을 이용했던 사용자들이 과거를 그리워하며 더 이상 서비스가 변화되지 않기를 바라는 시선도 있다.

In a blog post today, Instagram announced a new feature: a green status dot that indicates when a user is active on the app. If you’re cruising around Instagram, you can expect to see a green dot next to the profile pics of friends who also are Instagramming right then and there.

The dot will show up in the direct messaging part of the app but also on your friend’s list when you go to share a post with someone. Instagram clarifies that “You will only see status for friends who follow you or people who you have talked to in Direct,” so it’s meant to get you talking more to the people you’re already talking to. You can disable the status info in the “Activity Status” bit of the app’s Settings menu, where it’s set to “on” by default.

Prior to the advent of the green dot, Instagram already displayed how long ago someone was active by including information like “Active 23m ago” or “Active Now” in grey text next to their account info where your direct messages live. For those of us who prefer a calm, less real-time experience, the fact that features like these come on by default is a bummer.

Given the grey activity status text, the status dot may not seem like that much of a change. Still, it’s one opt-out design choice closer to making Instagram a compulsive real-time social media nightmare like Facebook or Facebook Messenger. The quiet, incremental rollout of features like the grey status text is often so subtle that users don’t notice it — as a daily Instagram user, I barely did.

Making major shifts very gradually is the same game Facebook always plays with its products, layering slight design changes that alter user behavior until one day you wake up and aren’t using the same app you used to love, but somehow you can’t seem to stop using it. Instagram is working on a feature for in-app time management, but stuff like this negates Facebook’s broader supposed efforts to make our relationship with its attention-hungry platforms less of a compulsive tic.

It’s not like users will be relieved that they can now see who is “online” in the app. The last time Instagram users passionately requested a feature it was to demand a return to the chronological feed, and we all know how that went. Over the years, Instagram users have mostly begged that the app’s parent company not mess it up, and yet here we are. The Facebook notification of Instagram marches on.

It’s a shame to see that happening with Instagram, which used to feel like one of the only peaceful places online, a serene space where you weren’t thrown into fits of real-time FOMO because usually your friends were #latergramming static images from good times previously had, not broadcasting the fun stuff you’re missing out on right now. It’s hard to see how features like this square with Facebook’s ostensible mission to move away from its relentless pursuit of engagement in favor of deepening the quality of user experiences with a mantra of “time well spent.” As users start to resent the steep attentional toll that makes Facebook “free,” it’s a shame to see Instagram follow Facebook down the same dark path.

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