(More accurately, how to stalk people on Instagram without having an account yourself.)
I always derive so much joy from doing this. And in fact, my Instagram-stalking skills came to my aid when I worked as a writer at WIRED for a summer.
But recently, Instagram made it harder to stalk people. They made it so that you can’t endlessly scroll through the pictures of an account, even accounts that are set to “public”, not private. Now, if you scroll just a bit, the pictures disappear, and metaphorical jail-cell window-bars appear, and an Instagram commandment orders you to log in if you want to continue browsing pictures. And it’s even more restrictive if you’re on a mobile phone.
Now, I don’t have an Instagram account and don’t plan on inviting Facebook-owned companies further into my life. So I thought I would have to just give up on peeking into the lives of the people that I lurk after. A lot of those people have their accounts set to “private”; but if you industriously visit their pages with regular frequency, I have found that almost every one, from time to time, sets their account to “public”. They must be trying to share their photos with some family member without an Instagram account. If you happen upon their account at such an interval, then you are in for a great binge of their photos! There was this lady who had 700 photos on her Instagram, all secretively locked away as ‘private’; and then, after months and months of lurking about, one day, all of a sudden, it was set to public! It’s always exciting when this happens.
But with the new Instagram rules, it doesn’t matter, because even if the account is set to public, you still can’t scroll past more than like 50 of those 700 photos.
But I discovered a work-around the other day. I don’t know how long it will be available, but it works for now. Go to the Instagram page of whoever you want to lurk after, click on any of the photos that you can see. Then, keep clicking on the “right” arrow to get to the next photo. And then the next photo. And then the next. When I did it this way, there seemed to be no limit to how far back in time you can go among the photos. It takes longer, of course, to dive back than if if you could just quickly scroll down the page, but you get there in the end!