Snapchat: How To Use It And Why It's Kind Of Awesome (And Addicting)

January 19, 2016

 

You've all heard of Snapchat by now, I'm sure. The new app that's sweeping the nation of millennials with it's temporary photo messages and visual "stories". Most of us over the age of 22 roll our eyes when we see someone taking a "snap". We are way too busy and important for Snapchat. We don't have time for that silliness. But brands are paying close attention to this new network. We've said it before and we'll say it again--brands need to find out where their target market is hanging out, and elbow their way in there to join the conversation and get in front of the right people. You gotta play where your people play. And the younger generation are the future buyers--so brands need to get their attention!

 

What it is: A fun, new messaging app that allows you to share pictures and videos that disappear after up to 10 seconds.

 

Who it's best for: Ideal for personal brands. Are you a solo entrepreneur and a one-man show with a story to tell? This is the place for you! Other brands can use it as well, but the key is you have to have a VISUALLY interesting story to share. If you just have Snap after Snap of your desk and office chair, it's not going to be keep anyone's attention.

 

I've been personally trialing this platform for the last month or so, and I must admit, I'm addicted. It's fun! This is by far THE best tool we have to peak into someone's life and see what it's really all about. Celebrities like Jessica Alba are using it, and we get to see personal moments with her family, before and afters of getting glammed, silly faces that let her personality shine through and even behind the scenes at star-studded events! It's live. It's unedited (aside from a few fun filters). It's real. And that's what makes it so cool.

 

Another thing about Snapchat is it's hella confusing to figure out. Will Oremus of Slate complains that, at the ripe age of 32, it makes him feel old."...every time I try to use it, I feel like my father must have felt when I was 9 years old and challenged him to a game of Sonic the Hedgehog. I end up flustered and sweating, haplessly punching runic symbols in a doomed bid to accomplish the basic task of viewing my friends’ messages before they expire."

 

I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on it, although I'm discovering new features everyday (just figured something else out sitting poolside today which inspired me to write this) so I thought I'd share a few things I've learned about Snapchat thus far.

 

Send a snap

 

On the camera screen, once you take your photo or video, you click the arrow (bottom right corner) and then select who you want to send this to directly, and/or add to "Your Story" (a collection of all your "story" snaps for the past 24 hours).

 

Save your snap

 

I find myself using the Snapchat app more often than my camera app. I can filter, save and send a photo faster than ever before and without all the pressure and pretentious ties to it that Instagram has - no worries about a photo theme here!

 

Replay a snap

 

You have to do this quick, but right as soon as you're done watching one sent to you, you can touch and hold again to replay. It will notify the Snapper that their snap was replayed--and apparently this is a pretty big compliment. If you're watching a story and you miss one--no biggie! Once the story is over, go back into "All Stories" and enjoy the whole thing again!

 

Screenshot a snap

 

Beware! This will also notify the the Snapper that you've saved their image (which is awkward if you're saving a snap of your crush for leisurely gazing later...). How do you do this? Screenshot the same as you would anything else on your phone. But you have to be quick because remember, snaps only last a maximum of 10 seconds.

 

Delete your snap

 

Same as above, expand your story and then click on the snap you wish to delete. It will appear on your screen and you can use the "trash can" to remove it. Sent one directly? Too bad so sad. It's theirs for the viewing now.

 

Find out who's seen your snap

 

Hold your thumb down on your story to expand all of the snaps you've added to it. You will see numbers beside each one indicating how many people have watched your snaps, and if you touch the number it will open a list of which friends did the watching.

 

Draw on your snap and add a caption

 

Some people have turned it into an art - just google "Snapchat Art" and prepare to feel really bad about your Snapchat game. Use the "T" for text, the "pen" icon to draw freehand and the little square that looks like it's a page being turned (what on earth is that?) to add emojis!

 

Be silly with your snaps

 

Want to play? Centre the camera on you and before taking the snap, hold your thumb on your face. Snapchat will recognize your face and a series of animated add-ons will appear for you to scroll through and play with. When you find one you want to send out into the world, either capture the image or hold down for video then send to friends!

 

Make your snaps prettier

 

Once you've taken your image or video you can swipe left you will peruse through three different filter options that can enhance your snap scene.

 

Add time, locations, temperatures and speeds to your snaps

 

Same as above, if you move past the filters you'll find time stamps, temperatures, and speeds (depending if it's an image or a video). The location tags, also called "Geofilters", are only available in certain locations and make Snapchatting (or Snating, or Snapping as the kids call it - "Do it for the Snap!") that much more exciting. The best part of traveling to new destinations is to check out and send the Geofilters, right? Hehe. They are actually submitted by graphic designers, artists and just regular Snapchat users just like you and me through their website and then have to be approved by the Snapchat team. I'm also beginning to see a lot of "sponsored" geofilters at big events like concerts and sporting events and even on national holidays - just today I saw some American friends using a "I Have A Dream" tag to recognize Martin Luther King Day. Even Disneyland has their own GeoFilter! Want to submit one of your own? Just click here, and follow the instructions.

 

Use snapcodes

 

Who has time to type in someones user name? Who even knows their username anymore? Just pull up your own personal Snapcode, have your friend "snap" it and voila, instant friends! Being sociable has never been so easy.

 

Snap for later

 

Not on wifi? No biggie. Snap what you see and send it as per usual. It won't go, but it will save to your story so you can "Tap to retry" when you get connected.

 

Chat with your Snapchat friends

 

In your list of recent snaps, swipe right on the person you want to chat with and send a message. Or, on the same page, click the speech bubble (top right corner) and search for a person to start a chat with. Note: Chats aren't saved for long.

 

Bonus: Change your temperate from Fahrenheit to Celsius (or vice versa)

This one stumped us but upon research, we discovered you simply touch the temperate on the screen and it will flip for you!

 

What's Discover?

 

Swipe all the way left and connect with brands (like Food Network, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, BuzzFeed, MTV, etc). Read their Snapchat "magazines" for loads of great news and info.

 

What's Live?

 

During live events, Snapchat collects peoples Snaps into a story of their own so you can watch the event from attendees eyes--like you were there! At an event and want to be featured? Here's how.

 

Now, back to snapping I go. Join me to try it out (and see life through my eyes). My username is: maymarr. Add me, friends!

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