Since its August 2016 launch, Instagram’s Snapchat-like stories feature has become an increasingly important element of the service. But stories haven’t shown up as an element in users’ profiles—which is understandable, as stories disappear after 24 hours while profiles are an ongoing permanent record of your activity on the service.
Today, Instagram is introducing stories into profiles. But it isn’t just showing fresh, not-yet-vanished ones—it’s allowing you to rummage through all your stories, pick favorites and give them names, and then add them to a row at the top of your profile. That option is available because Instagram now saves all of your stories into an archive that only you can see. (You can disable that feature if you think that even a private archive violates stories’ ephemeral spirit.)
“The Instagram profile is one of the most important places on the product for users,” says Robby Stein, who’s in charge of sharing features for the service. By letting people add stories highlights to their profile, he adds, the service offers a new way for them to summarize the interests that make up their Instagram persona. His colleague Yichen Wang told me that some stories deserve to live on even if they weren’t orginally captured with that in mind: “It’s a pretty carefree way to capture moments in your day, but it doesn’t mean they’re low-quality moments.”