Instagram announced a change to Stories on Monday, finally allowing users to like a Story without sending the person who posted it a direct message. The change was announced by Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram.
It's a small change -- you'll see a heart icon on stories, allowing you to like it -- but a big relief for anyone who wanted to show support for another person's story without barging all the way into their DMs. It's the Stories equivalent of sending a text rather than calling someone up on the phone.
Stories won't get public like counts like you normally see on other posts, but the author of the story will be able to see individual likes in the viewer sheet. That means you can still dig through your Story likes to see who responded to the Story, if you want.