Social media is amazing, it connects us with others across time zones and countries, keeps us in touch with people we don’t have time to see, and more. But we also know that it can be overwhelming, take up too much of our time and be as tiring as it is rewarding.
So it’s good news that there’s a new feature on Instagram: Silent Mode. This means that when enabled, all notifications will be paused and the profile’s activity status will change to say “In silent mode.” If someone sends an instant message during this time, they will receive a reply explaining that the intended recipient has “silent mode” enabled.
Of course, silent modes aren’t new—I’m regularly surprised by how many people use them on their iPhone, as revealed by a message saying “the recipient has notifications muted” in Messages. Note, in Messages you still have the option to send your message anyway, but it is not clear that something similar will apply on Instagram.
But they are a welcome addition to the options on Instagram. Meta, which owns Instagram, posted a blog post describing the new feature as “a new way to manage time and focus.”
Interestingly, Instagram has one group in particular in mind, saying “We will ask teens to enable silent mode when they spend a certain amount of time on Instagram late at night.”
It continues, “Teens have told us that they sometimes want to take time for themselves and may be looking for more ways to focus at night, while studying and during school. You can easily customize Quiet Mode hours to suit your schedule, and when the feature is turned off, we’ll show you a quick summary of notifications so you can catch up on what you missed. Anyone can use silent mode, but we’d ask teens to do so when using a certain amount of time on Instagram late at night.”
If you use Instagram in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it’s rolling out right now, with other countries coming soon, says Meta.
Of course, you still have to turn on silent mode and the temptation will often be to leave things as they are, but it’s a welcome advance.
Instagram also announced that it’s improving how you manage recommendations, to better focus what content Instagram serves you. You can hide multiple pieces of content at once and select Not Interested as an option for a post displayed in the Explore tab. You will also be able to add a list of words or hashtags you want to avoid. You can already do this to hide comments and DMs, but it will also apply to recommended posts.
The company also updated parental control tools, allowing for example parents to see “accounts their teen has blocked” as well as the provision already in place to see their teen’s Instagram settings. Meta says: “These updates are part of our ongoing work to ensure people have experiences that work for them and that they have more control over the time they spend online and the type of content they watch.”
While these changes won’t solve the overwhelming aspect of social media, they are useful steps to help you manage it.