Last month, Engadget reported that Instagram was trying out a new Archive feature with a select group of users. The experience must have been positive because they have now released the Archive option to all Instagram users. Which is a very cool move on their part because, let’s face it, we all have that one embarrassing picture that we’d rather not share publicly but just can’t bring ourselves to delete.

Before the Archive option, Instagram users were left with two choices: post a picture for everyone to see or delete it. Unlike Facebook, Instagram does not allow users to set preferences regarding who can see their posts – everyone, friends only, or private, meaning only the user has access to posts. The Archive function sorta fixes that, and eliminates the need to decide whether to keep a picture or not. Public posts can be sent to Archive and brought back to public again if a user decides that he or she wants it back in general circulation.

This could come especially handy in certain situations like going to interviews. Potential employers are more and more inclined to do some background checks not only with previous employers but by going online and checking out interviewees’ social media pages. The Archive option will also allow Instagrammers to ‘re-post’ seasonal pictures at the right time and archive them once the holiday is over. There are many practical uses for the Instagram archive, and we’re glad it’s finally available to everyone. Also of importance is knowing that all likes and comments are preserved along with the post when in archive.

But Instagram may have its own reasons for introducing the Archive option. As part as a news story on teenagers and social media last year, the Washington Post revealed that a lot of teenage girls only keep an average of 25 posts on their Instagram accounts at any one time. Those photos that don’t generate enough ‘likes’, have poor lighting or don’t represent the very coolest moments of her life simply don’t make the cut and are deleted. By giving teenagers the option to archive those pictures that just aren’t good enough, Instagram can hope that the pictures will be re-posted at a later date, possibly when the users are older and may have have a shift in opinion on what is and isn’t a good picture. It may just be that later in their lives, the number of ‘likes’ on any given picture doesn’t matter as much as, say, like things in real life.

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