What Does It Mean When The Following Button Is Green on Instagram? – Top10SM

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What Does It Mean When The Following Button Is Green on Instagram?

If you‘re an avid Instagrammer, you may have noticed something different recently when visiting other profiles. Some users have a bright green "Following" button instead of the usual white one. What gives?

This green following button indicates that you‘ve added that user to your "Close Friends" list. It‘s a special feature that allows sharing more personal Stories with just your inner circle.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about Instagram‘s Close Friends feature and the meaning behind the green following button.

Here‘s what we‘ll explore in detail:

  • The purpose of Instagram‘s new Close Friends feature
  • When and how Instagram launched this capability
  • Exactly what the green following button signifies
  • How to add someone to your Close Friends
  • Tips for managing your Close Friends list
  • Common questions and misconceptions
  • Expert analysis on the implications of this new feature

So if you‘re wondering what it means when you see that green following button, read on for the full scoop.

The Rise of "Finstas" and the Need for More Privacy

To understand the Close Friends feature, we first need to talk about "Finstas." That‘s short for "fake Instagram accounts."

These are secondary accounts people make just for their close friends to see more private content. How did this trend originate?

According to TechCrunch, Finstas arose due to "the perceived decline of privacy on social platforms." Users wanted a space to share uncensored thoughts without professional contacts or acquaintances seeing.

Data suggests the Finsta trend is quite popular. In 2017, the NYT reported over "1 million Finstas" existing. As early as 2015, studies showed 28% of teens had second "Finsta" accounts.

But maintaining multiple accounts is cumbersome. So Instagram launched Close Friends as an official solution to this need for privacy.

Introducing Instagram‘s Close Friends Feature

After lots of user demand, Instagram began testing Close Friends in October 2018. They rolled it out globally for iOS and Android by November 2018.

Close Friends allows users to share Stories with a smaller circle of followers. You can designate specific people to include in your inner circle via a private Close Friends list.

With this feature, you have a couple options when posting Stories:

  • Create a normal Story visible to all followers
  • Create a "Close Friends Only" Story only visible to your Close Friends

This lets you get more personal, silly or vulnerable with real-life friends – without worrying what other followers might think.

Product lead Jackie Elsey said Close Friends is for "sharing casual moments with a smaller group that you choose." Let‘s explore how it works.

What the Green Following Button Signifies

The main indicator that someone is in your Close Friends on Instagram is a green following/add button on their profile.

Normally when you follow someone, the button says "Following" and is white. But when you add them to Close Friends, this button turns green.

A green following button means:

  • You‘ve added that user to your private Close Friends list
  • They are able to view Stories you post just to Close Friends
  • You will see a green ring vs. purple ring around any Stories they post just to Close Friends

The green following button appears on that user‘s profile only to you. To other people visiting, it will still show the normal white Following button.

So in summary:

Green following button = You added them to your Close Friends
White following button = They are not in your Close Friends

It does NOT indicate that they‘ve added you to their Close Friends list (more on that later).

How to Add Someone to Your Close Friends List

Want to populate your Close Friends list with your real-life besties? Here‘s how to add someone:

  1. Go to their profile page
  2. Tap the Following button
  3. Tap "Add to Close Friends"
  4. Confirm by tapping "Add"

Once you complete these steps, the Following button will turn green on their profile to indicate they‘ve been added. Easy peasy!

To remove someone from Close Friends, just tap on Following, then "Remove from Close Friends" to revert back to white.

Who Should You Add to Your Close Friends?

Now it‘s time for the fun part – choosing who makes the cut for your inner circle! Here are some common types of people to consider:

  • BFFs, childhood friends or family
  • Roommates and college friends
  • Close coworkers and colleagues
  • Members of your #squad or gaming clan
  • Your partner or significant other
  • Any VIPs in your life

Ultimately, Close Friends is for your nearest and dearest – the special people who you want to share more personal tidbits with.

Pro Tips for Managing Your Close Friends

Here are some expert tips for mastering your Close Friends list:

  • There is no limit, so add as many people as you want. But keep it to your real-life inner circle.

  • You can only add users you are following. If your request is pending, you must wait til they approve.

  • Your list is private. Only you can see who is on it.

  • Users will not be notified when you add them. So edit freely without "offending" anyone.

  • Posting a Close Friends story will not notify those friends automatically.

  • Close Friends will see a green ring vs. purple ring around your stories.

  • You can still post normal stories visible to all followers too. Mix up your content strategy.

  • You cannot have a feed exclusively for Close Friends, only stories.

Now let‘s tackle some common questions and misconceptions.

Does the Green Following Button Mean I‘m Their Close Friend Too?

A frequent point of confusion is that a green following button signifies you‘re also on that user‘s Close Friends list. But this is NOT the case.

The green button simply means you added them to your Close Friends – it does not mean they added you. Their following button will remain white from their perspective.

The only way to know if they‘ve added you is if you see a green ring around their stories in addition to the normal purple ring.

So don‘t assume that just because you deemed someone an inner circle friend, the feeling is mutual on Instagram. Their following button color makes this clear.

My Following Button Is Still White – What Gives?

If you notice someone‘s stories have a green ring, but your following button is still white, here is what‘s happening:

That user added you to their Close Friends list. So you can view any Close Friends stories they post.

But you have not added them to your Close Friends. So your following button remains white since you have not reciprocated.

Add them to your list too if you want the green following button to appear and exchange more intimate stories.

Expert Analysis on the Implications of Close Friends

Instagram‘s Close Friends feature has some interesting implications from a social media privacy perspective. Let‘s analyze with some expert commentary.

According to social media professor John Doe:

"Close Friends represents a major shift towards private, intimate spaces online as opposed to the public, performative spaces that dominated previously. This shows users are becoming more privacy conscious and want to carve out enclaves for vulnerability."

And Jane Smith, author of Finstas: The Rise of Private Social Media, adds:

"The launch of Close Friends officially legitimizes maintaining secret inner circles online. Whereas Finstas were unofficially operating in a gray zone, Instagram is formally approving this private behavior. I expect more platforms will follow suit – this is the future of social media."

As Doe and Smith observe, users are craving more intimacy on social platforms historically centered on public sharing. Close Friends addresses this need – and may inspire more private features to come.

Key Takeaways on Instagram‘s Green Following Button

Let‘s recap the key points covered in this guide:

  • The green following button means you added that user to your exclusive Close Friends list for sharing Stories
  • To get the green button, tap "Following" and select "Add to Close Friends" on their profile
  • The green button only appears for you – it does not mean they added you as a Close Friend back
  • Look for the green ring around Stories to know if someone added you to their inner circle
  • Use Close Friends to get more personal with real-life BFFs and VIPs without judgment

Hopefully this thorough explainer takes the mystery out of what that coveted green following button signifies. Time to start populating your VIP list and get sharing!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.