What's the point of broadcasting live on Instagram if you can't prod your followers to watch you? Otherwise you're just livestreaming to the wind. To solve this crisis, Instagram today announced a new feature allowing users to send their live videos right to the Direct inbox of a follower or a group of them. It's kind of like performing a song on their front lawn and throwing rocks at their window to get them to notice.
Live videos still work as they always have, this only adds the ability to single out the users you would like to join you, giving you a way of saying, "Hey! I'm doing a thing!" Just tap the little arrow button at the bottom of the screen, and a menu of your friends pops up. Then you just tap the accounts you want Instagram to ping for you. They will see a notification that they have a new direct message, which will give them your invitation.
Viewers of your Direct live videos can also send them to others via the same method, but you can disable that option if you like in the settings.
Because I couldn't blindly trust that this works the way Instagram says it does, I had to try it myself. Being someone who never, ever, ever does live video for social media purposes, I was a little confounded at first. A couple of my friends who happened to have the app open at the time simply saw me grousing about how I wasn't sure if this was working or not.
Eventually, I found someone I could be sure was ready to check their Direct messages, and indeed, they got the invitation to watch me. They tapped in to join the broadcast and watch me say over and over again that I don't actually want to be livestreaming, all the while sending me encouraging chat messages. It's like magic!
Our own APK Mirror has all the latest versions of the app, of course, but Instagram says you need at least version 26 of the app to get Direct for live videos.