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The great thing about social media is that we have our own personal scribes—we can document and capture key moments in life as they happen, whether it’s through videos, images, or text. And the more spontaneous, the better.

The thing is, though, those “like” and “heart” functions can make one feel self-conscious and anxious: What if no one hearts what you posted? What if only a handful of friends liked your selfie? We seek validation so much that our well-curated posts have become calculated and forced, totally defying social media’s aim of recording the randomness of everyday life.

Fortunately, Instagram Stories is a feature that allows IG users to share moments in their lives as they happen, sans the peer pressure and status anxiety.

The myriad of stickers and GIFS add highly to the IG story experience by making your story personalized —you can place a geotag of where you are, the exact timestamp of that foodie pic, and your feelings toward something with a trending GIF. IG Stories can also be highly interactive. It has a poll feature where you can ask your followers to help you decide on what your next mall purchase will be. There is also a feature that allows your followers to ask you a question, the answer to which, you can share with the rest of your followers. All of those functions are embedded within the Instagram app, which makes using them a no-brainer, even for non-techy types.

One of Instagram stories’ unique quirks is that they expire 24 hours after you post them—unlike regular IG posts that will remain in your account/timeline forever (unless you manually archive or delete them). This makes it easier for you to manage your timeline by giving you the option to let your followers see evergreen or relevant posts from you.

If you don’t want your stories to expire, you have the option to collate your stories and display them on your profile as highlights. These highlights preserve your story beyond the 24 hour mark. You can also create specific groupings for your highlights, like for the places you’ve gone to, the restaurants you’ve eaten in, and the events that you’ve been a part of.

Since the posts are already right on their screens and will disappear after 24 hours, your followers know they ought to check it out ASAP.

Perhaps the best thing about IG stories is that they don’t have the peer-pressure and anxiety-inducing “like” function. Any comments posted on it will become a private message sent to you instead. This feature makes Instagram stories a powerful encouragement tool to make the social media platform work better in connecting people in an intimate and personal way.