If you’re under 25 this blog post either won’t apply to you, or you will laugh at how long it took me to figure out Snapchat. If you’re over 25, you probably feel my pain. Oddly enough, I’m 22 and for the longest time I was lost in this land of micro-pics and micro-videos. Who knew that an app that was popular for sending nude pictures back and forth would make it as far as it has. I was lucky enough to have my dear friend Oliver Fein (Snapchat username: dr.ohfineeee) help me with my struggles of learning this thing every step of the way.

The Basics: Snapping 101

When you first sign up for an account, Team Snapchat will send you little videos explaining basic functionalities of the app. I would say that they are almost completely useless. The videos are less than a minute long and only cover the bare bones of what you can do on Snapchat. Honestly the best way to learn Snapchat is by googling your questions one at a time, or by simply having one of your friends teach you. Here are some basic terms you should know:

  • Snaps:

    • Snaps are pictures or videos that you send to people within Snapchat. Snaps cannot be longer than 10 seconds. You technically can “re-watch” a snap, but most of the time it is frowned upon. I’ll explain that in a bit.
  • Stories:

    • Stories are collections of your snaps that you have taken over a 24-hour time frame. When you take a snap you have the option to send it individually to your friends through a direct-message format or to add it to your Story. All of your friends can view your story, since it is essentially made public for a 24-hour period of time. After a day, your snaps within your story disappear.
  • Filters:

    • There are pretty much two kinds of filters: geofilters/ and lenses. There are regular filters such as black & white or sepia tone, but those are boring! If that’s your thing, you should go to Instagram to do that. Geofilters you add after the fact to your videos or snaps and vary depending on where you are taking snaps (hence the “geo” part in geofilter). Lenses are almost like interactive masks that you wear on your face. Facebook Live has actually copied this feature with MSQRD (pronounced like masquerade). Lenses you use while you are creating a snap, not after the fact like with geo-filters.

 

Filters: Geo & Lenses

Since I basically just described the difference between these 2 types of filters, I will show you the difference between the two with actual snaps!

*Side Note*: To apply a geofilter, take your picture or video and then swipe the screen right until you find a filter that you like. To apply a lense, tap and hold onto your face before taking the picture. You will see a row of choices appear on the bottom that you can pick from.

Geo:

Photo cred: top left & bottom left- snappinghaley, top right- dr.ohfineeee, bottom right- Swagmcswagginz

 

Lenses:

Photo cred: all snappinghaley (me!). Username: kwame201 is in the picture on the bottom left.

Beware, Snapchat will Rat on You!

Snapchat lets the other person know everytime you take a screenshot or replay a video. This can be very embarrassing. I did not know this at first, but luckily Oliver told me this early on. Sometimes if a snap is really funny or entertaining, a screenshot can be a form of flattery. My advice- use your replays and screenshots wisely! Exhibit A:

screenshot pic

 

Good Rules to Follow

Since Oliver is the expert and I’m his apprentice, I asked him what his 5 tips would be for new users. This was his response:

  1. Never trust the first selfie you take. There’s always a better one out there before you send your snap.
  2. Never Snapchat someone to shame them. That’s just mean and karma is very real.
  3. Geotag cool landmarks so people can see them in person if they want to.
  4. Don’t go over 10 snaps in your story. You’re just being obnoxious at that point.
  5. Don’t snap and drive! (Same goes for drinking, texting, or playing Pokemon GO)

 

I hope this helps for the other newbies to the Snapchatting world! Special thanks to Oliver and happy early birthday you big 23-year-old!

 

Infographic of the Week:

oliver info

https://infograph.venngage.com/p/129382/olivers-5-tips-for-beginners-on-snapchat

Question of the Week:

Which app or software program was difficult for you to learn?

 

 

2 thoughts on “My Struggles with Snapchat: A Beginner’s Guide to a Confusing App

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