Users will be prompted to select their university and graduating year and add the information to their profile. The student will then have access to a list of classmates who have also agreed to publish their university information on their profile. Students will be able to message and watch each other’s Instagram stories. They can also still ignore or block messages they do not want to receive.
Some users have already encountered issues with Instagram’s latest feature. One user was prompted to register for a college community even though they are not an active student. This feature could also potentially leave out graduate-level students who do not necessarily have a designated graduation year. It is currently unclear whether users will be able to change their graduation date and maintain their “active” status.
Instagram’s announcement comes on the heels of the release of Tinder U. Tinder U is a feature that allows college students to look for romantic dates, friends, or study buddies on their own or nearby college campuses. Both Instagram and Tinder’s target audiences are “Millennials” and “Generation Z”, who tend to favor these apps over other standby’s like Facebook.
There have been many changes to Instagram this past year. In the spring, Instagram added in-app payments for partners such as Resy, an app for making dinner reservations. Users are able to register a debit or credit card and create security PIN’s. The features does not seem to be available to all users and does not include app partners like Warby Parker of Kate Spade
Instagram has also altered some features that have prompted concerns over privacy. This past June, Instagram took away the tool that alerted users when someone took a screenshot of their stories. The app then added status dots that let users know when their friends were online. Thankfully, Instagram allows users to turn off this feature under the “Activity Status” setting.
Instagram’s college community feature is still being tested and does not have a full release date. Hopefully the feature will help students to be able to connect with each other during a very formative time.