4 mins read

How to watch videos together with your Instagram friends

Social distancing is the new normal. At least for the moment during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. People are confined to their homes in isolation. They are looking for ways to connect with their friends and family from home. Instagram saw this need and accelerated the launch of its new Co-watching feature that allows you and your Instagram friends to watch Instagram videos and posts together.

What is joint observation?

Co-watching is the digital equivalent of giving someone your phone so they can watch something they’re enjoying with you. People have passed their phones around to all their friends since the beginning of the smartphone era. But now we can’t share phones or gather around someone’s device to enjoy the experience together.

This innovation allows you to share favorite posts with a friend and video chat about them in the same app. You and your friends can laugh together at funny videos or read posts and discuss them face to face without having to leave Instagram.

Start a joint observation session

When you find a post you want to share with your friends or family, follow these steps to log in.

1. Open messages by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner.

2. Tap the video camera icon in the top right corner.

3. Type the name of a friend to add to the chat in the search box.

4. Tap the plus sign that appears.

5. You can also scroll down and select the people you want to include by tapping the circles next to their names. A check mark will appear in the circle when you have chosen that person.

6. When you’ve added everyone you want to chat with, tap Start in the top right corner.

Once you’re in video chat, a photo icon will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen. This icon is to access the Co-Watching feature. Tap it to start.

From there, you can choose from Instagram photos and videos that you’ve liked or saved. You can also share from the Explore screen.

If you want to chat with more than one person while using Co-Watching, you need to make sure everyone in the chat has permission to view a post. If even one person can’t access the post, you can’t share it in the chat.

The future of joint observation

Even after social distancing has passed, the Co-Watching feature on Instagram will continue. But he will have to compete with Team. Squad is an application that allows users to share their entire cell phone screen while chatting. Instagram limits what you can share to posts you’ve liked or saved and posts suggested from the browse screen. Squad allows you to share from any app by sharing your screen.

Another reason Co-Watching will continue in the future is to help connect people better, even once we can finally leave our homes. Life on social media may seem like we’re connecting with more people, but in reality, scrolling through an Instagram or Facebook feed is an isolating experience, not a social one. Joint observation will help us feel less alone.

If you’re not an Instagram user, there are also other ways to watch videos online with friends.

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