Snapchat. You’ve heard of it. In fact, you’re probably tired of hearing about it. It’s the social media app that’s already swept most of the world and, more than likely, the reason any person under the age of 26 isn’t paying attention when you talk to them. Additionally, it’s become the most buzzed-about social media as of late. Forget Vine. Snapchat is now the thing you don’t understand, but probably need to. So listen up.
Let’s start with the basics. What the hell is Snapchat? Well, in its simplest form, Snapchat is a messaging app that uses photos or videos sent between two users to convey a message. Don’t worry, you’ll catch on.
So what makes Snapchat different from the other apps that youths are so obsessed with (read: Instagram)? One word. Disappear. In an age where everything you do online will one day come back to bite you in the ass, Snapchat offers the perfect alternative. Users have the ability to choose how long the message’s receiver will have to view said message. The time limit ranges from 1 to 10 seconds. That’s it. At max, whatever you’ve got to say or show will only exist in the universe for 10 seconds. And then, poof. Gone forever. Sure, okay, there is this gray area that involves screenshots, but that’s a topic for a different blog. So let’s move on.
Alright, so now you understand what Snapchat is and why no one can shut up about it. You’re doing great. #killinit. Let’s move on to something a bit more technical. How do you actually use the damn thing?! Sending a message or “snapping” is actually pretty simple. To begin, take a picture (or video). Of anything. No, seriously. ANYTHING. Remember, it will only exist for mere seconds. Next, type a message. Be brief, though. You only get 31 characters for said message. After that, get creative. In the early days of Snapchat, things were kind of boring. Features were limited. And TBH so was the user’s imagination. However, these days Snapchat is changing every day. (No, really. They add new filters almost every day.) Today you can swipe through a number of filters, use a “lens”, draw on your picture, or add a “sticker”. Using these various options can be half the fun of snapping and have even led to some users becoming “#SnapchatFamous”.
Once you’ve perfected your masterpiece, click the arrow located in the bottom right corner. This will direct you to your “contacts” list. After that, it’s as simple as selecting who gets to see your bomb AF snap. Another cool feature of Snapchat is actually the contacts list. When choosing recipients for your snap, you can select any number of people. So if your message is just for that special someone, cool. But if you want almost* every one of your contacts to see how perfect your selfie is, just select them all. Then just press the arrow (still in the bottom, left corner) and BAM, your snap is sent.
If the recipient(s) of your snap is so moved by your message that they reply (and let’s face, they will because you’re awesome), you’ll get a notification. Navigate back to Snapchat, click on the solid red or purple square next to their name and ENJOY.
Look at you! You’re totally Snapchat legit now! But just in case, any haters try to step to your skillz, let’s cover a few other things.
Additional lingo to know to master the art of Snapchat:
- Story: Stories are Snapchats answer to how to share your crazy, awesome snaps with all of your contacts*. Your Snap Story is a collection of all of your snaps taken in a 24 hour period. In essence, it’s a never ending story if you’re steady snappin’. These Stories are housed on a separate screen in Snapchat (the little square in the bottom, left corner when you’re in picture mode). Once you follow someone on Snapchat, they’ll have access to your Story and you theirs.
- Local Story: In some bigger cities (i.e. NYC, Dallas, Seattle), users can contribute to the “Local Story”. This is collect of snaps from people in that area. The Local Story appears, on the Stories page, to anyone currently in that city.
- Followers: Like many other social media apps, Snapchat utilizes followers. Users can find your Snapchat using either your phone number (if available to them), facebook account (if you’re “friends”), or your username. Also like many other apps, Snapchat offers you the option of being Public or Private.
- Private: They follow you, you follow them, and you’re one big happy, following family. You can see each other’s’ Stories.
- Public: They follow you. They can see your Story. You have nothing to do with them. They stand in the light of your halo.
- Live: Want to get FOMO (fear of missing out) from Coachella? How about the Saints game? Maybe you just want to know what other people are doing to celebrate Father’s Day. Well, now you can! Live is a Snapchat curated, collection of snaps from users attending events or holiday festivities from around the world. Occasionally, Snapchat will even feature the Local Story (see above) from a big city for that day. The Live events appear at the top of the Stories page and often open with a short explanation of the event.
- Discover: Above the Live section you’ll see a collection of familiar brands. This is Discover. Scroll through these content providers, find your fav and click. Each brand creates special content solely for Snapchat users. This includes photos, videos, tutorials, and other super, cool stuff that will make even the grumpiest of guses smile.
- Personal recommendation: Buzzfeed’s Discover page is my daily obsession #themoreyouknow.
Now your Snapchat game will be the stuff of legends. Get out there, get snappin’ and be sure to follow @bbrcreative!