Originally thought of as nothing more than a sexting app founded by college bros, Snapchat has risen to become the most active social media platform among users aged 13 to 25. According to Adweek, Snapchat currently touts an estimated 200 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users, which, after a mere four years of existence, puts it ahead of all of its competitors. And, a University of Michigan research found that Snappers feel happier than other social network users. It’s now valued at more than $15 billion, and serves as one of the premiere platforms for sending selfies, silly photos, videos, and messages. Publishers and brands, such as Vice, Buzzfeed, and McDonald’s, also use it to send branded content.
It’s easy to dismiss Snapchat as a child’s toy because it feels different than other messaging and social networking apps, but it can be fun to use. And, with major news organizations utilizing the platform as a new way to deliver news and information, Snapchat is starting to grow up (a little). If you want to understand this new mobile phenomenon and how to get your foot in the door, read on.
Understanding Snapchat and how it’s used
Snapchat’s appeal is that it acts as a “dark” social network of sorts, essentially meaning that grandma can’t view and comment on every photo and video that is posted, especially given the content disappears after a set number of seconds. This makes a much more personal experience, as unlike Facebook or Instagram, you are not broadcasting your updates to the world, but rather to a very select group of friends.
Unlike other social networks, Snapchat is very intuitively designed and is intended to be as hassle-free as possible. When you open the app, the camera is automatically activated and then you can quickly snap a picture for your friends. You don’t have to dig through any menus or manage updates, likes, or comments – all you have to do is hit the record button and you are ready to go.
As a result, Snapchat has become one of the most popular social networks, especially among younger generations who appreciate the creative ways it does ephemeral messaging – it’s so popular that it has caught the attention of Facebook, which is experimenting with Snapchat-like features with its Facebook Messenger app (while, interestingly, Snapchat is trying to become more like Facebook, but that’s another story). With that in mind, here are nine tips you can use to use Snapchat in the best way possible.
Now that you have a general idea of how Snapchat works, here are some tips on how to maximize your experience.
Eight tips for stepping up your Snapchat game
Enable multiple filters
When you open the Snapchat app, you will be taken directly to the camera view, which is the main screen in Snapchat. Once you’ve taken a photo, swipe your finger left and right to preview all the available filters. These can be selected by location, temperature, speed (for when you are in a vehicle, although you really shouldn’t be driving while Snapping, duh), and other more ridiculous categories. Once you’ve selected your first filter, all you have to do is tap and hold on the screen, and then swipe left or right to add a second filter. This allows you to up your Snapchat game and apply a second filter in one quick motion.
Save your snaps
Snapchat is meant to be a platform that is ephemeral. But if you want to go against the entire ethos of the platform and save snaps, all you have to do is use the save icon to save the snap to your phone. This looks like an arrow pointing downward and looks remarkably similar to the download icon on iPhones. Keep in mind that if you save someone’s snap that they sent, it will inform them that you did this, so it’s better to avoid this or just use a third-party app like SnapCrack to be a little more stealthy about your creeping. This should also serve a warning that others can save the snaps you sent, so don’t think they’ll disappear and you’ll be in the clear.
Edit your friends’ names
Playing in to the silliness of Snapchat, some of your friends might have odd or ridiculous display names that may be confusing. Luckily, there’s a quick fix for that. You can edit display names of your friends to say whatever you want within the app – and they’ll never even know. When you’re in the camera view, simply swipe down to access the Contacts screen, then tap My Friends, and Find a Friend. Once there, tap on your friend’s name, select the setting icon, and tap Edit Name. Now you’ll never have to see their awful username again, and you can change it to whatever you’d like.
Edit your own display name
It turns out you can also use the same technique to change your own username instead of making an entirely new account. All you need to do is double tap on your name in the Contacts screen to access the menu to edit your name. You can do this if you are dissatisfied with your own display name or are merely looking for a name change.
Apply speed filters on your videos
One of the more recent additions to Snapchat is speed filters, which essentially allow you to slow down, speed up, or rewind videos. In fact, you can string together various videos with different filters to create a boomerang effect. To add these filters to your videos, simply record a video and add the speed filter as though you would any other filter and start to make some movie magic.
Add more colors to your Doodles
Many people are aware that you can draw on photos using the Doodle icon in the top-right corner, but what they might not be aware of is that there is a much wider variety of colors available to doodle with. Once you start drawing on your snap, drag your finger down from the slider, across the bottom, and then back up again to access an additional color palette that includes the colors black and white. These additional colors may not serve a huge purpose, but they will allow you to draw things such as graying hairs or other bodily growths in a wider variety of colors.