Snapchat: What Actually is Snapchat?


Snapchat. What actually is ‘Snapchat’? Well, it is simply a photo and video messaging app. Snapchat is mostly popular amongst teenagers, and is directed towards teens and adults. It is unique in all that it is as the photos and videos only last a brief amount of time before they disappear forever, which to some people can be a blessing, however users can take screenshots to save snaps (so make sure nothing too saucy is being sent!). As of May 2014, the apps users have been sending over 700 million photos/videos per day.

Due to the immense popularity of Snapchat, Facebook had reportedly offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. Yet, one of the app’s co-founders had declined the cash. Therefore, Facebook has since launched a rival photo app called Slingshot.

Snapchat is extremely popular among teenagers, according to several research firms, but it is embracing new demographics every day. Viners, who are personalities that use the Vine app, use Snapchat’s Story feature as to communicate with fans across the world.

Some people don’t fully understand the Snapchat lingo so here is a quick breakdown of what it all means within the Snapchat world;

  • Story – A story is a snap that you can show and send to all of your friends. Your friends can view it an unlimited amount of times for 24 hours, then the story will be deleted. You can send multiple stories in one day, and they will be compiled to make one whole story.
  • Snap – A snap is a photo or a video that can be taken with Snapchat. You can send a snap to a ‘Snapchatter’ but it will only last for a certain amount of time, 1 to 10 seconds, which ever one you so choose.
  • Snapchatter – A snapchatter are the Snapchat users.
  • Snapback – A snapback is a reply to the snap you have sent.
  • Chat – Chat is a feature within Snapchat, that lets you have private messages with your friends. However, like the photos, the messages will disappear if you don’t save them. To do this just tap on the text.
  • Here – This is a video chat which is a sub-feature within chat. You can broadcast live video and audio to your friends whilst chatting to them.

How Does Snapchat Work?

Snapchat is so simple and easy to use, that once you are done reading this you will be snapping away like a teenager.

Main Screen – The first thing that needs to be done, is to download the app and the good thing is that its completely free! You then create an account and a user ID. Once this has been done, the app will then open and show your camera view. The camera view will serve as the main screen. The screen shows you what your camera sees. On the bottom of the screen, there is a Camera button which you can take a picture with or a video (snaps). To take a video, hold the camera button down or tap the button to take a picture.

In the bottom left of the main screen there is a square-shaped icon which tells you how many snaps are waiting for you to open. The bottom right-hand corner has the contacts button. As of January 2015, which was the newest update, the main screen now has another button which is a Snapchat logo button that is found at the top of the screen.

Adding contacts – To add a contact to your list, you tap the contacts button which is at the bottom right-hand corner of the main screen. Your contacts screen will then open, and the ‘Add Contacts button’ is in the top right. To add a contact, find the ‘snapchatters’ button which looks like an address book, and then tap the ‘+’ button next to a friends name if you want to add them. To Search for a friend, look for the magnifying glass and from there, type in your friends username to find and add them.

Chatting with friends – Excluding snaps and stories, you can also privately communicate with a friend by ‘Chatting’. To get to the ‘Chat’ feature, you swipe right on your friends name that you want to chat with, enter the text, and then tap on the send button on the keyboard.

Whilst you are chatting with a friend, you can also send them a Snap. To do this, you tap the yellow camera that is on the right side of the text box to take a Snap and sent it to your friend. In addition, you can send an image from your phone’s gallery by selecting the small symbol that is on the bottom right-hand side. To produce a live video, you press and hold the blue camera, The video chat works when your camera is facing toward you or even away.

Here – Using ‘Here’ allows you to live video chat with friends whilst using Chat. To do this, you simply press the blue camera button on the right hand side to access this feature. The camera button will turn from yellow to blue when the other person is available for video chat. In order to immediately broadcast live video and audio make sure to press and hold the blue camera to show yourself to your friend. Video chat works when your camera is facing away or towards you.

Stories – A story is a snap that exists for 24 hours and can be send to all of your friends. To do this, you tap the story button that is on the preview screen which is right next to the download button. Once you send a story, your friends will only be able to see it for an unlimited amount of times for 24 hours. Another way to send a story to friends, is by simply taking a snap and tapping on the send button. However, instead of selecting each and every friend on the screen you can simply select the ‘My Story’ button. Also, you can change who looks at your stories by going into the Settings.

The interesting thing is that you can app multiple stories to your Story through the day. Technically, it is like a visual journey throughout your day which all of your friends can see at their leisure.

‘Our Story’ allows Snapchatters who are at the same location or event to put Snaps in the same story. For example, if you can’t make it to the event then by watching ‘Our Story’ makes people feel as if they’re there! It is really easy to use ‘Our Story’.

To post in the ‘Our Story’, you would need to be at an Our Story event and have your phones device location services location on. You will also need to turn on the ‘Filters’ under the ‘Additional Services’ in the Snapchat settings.

If you are attending an event that has an ‘Our Story’, you will see two options; ‘My Story and the ‘Our Story’. If you send a snap to ‘Our Story’, then it will be published and can be viewed by anyone.

Sending money – Snapchat has partnered with Square – a mobile payment company that was co-founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey – to launch ‘Snapcash’, which lets you use your debit card to pay for goods or to simply send some money to friends. How Snapcash works is as easy as pie, just enter your debit card details, then swipe into chat, type the amount (for example, $8.50) and then hit green button to send the money.

Your card details are then securely stored by Square so you do not have to worry about a hacking scandal that would result in your losing money. Snapcash via Square is now available to all Snapchatters within the US that have a debit card. However, customers must be 18 years or older.

Discover – Snapchat Discover is now a new feature within the Snapchat app, it is a new way for people to find stories from specific teams such as ‘MTV’ or ‘National Geographic’. To go to ‘Discover’, you swipe left on the main screen and then you will see the Stories screen, and then tap the new Discover icon (a circle symbol) in the top right-hand corner.

You will then see a grid of the available ‘editorial teams’, which include Snapchat’s own Snap channel, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail and People ect. To open one of there, you take on it then swipe right to browse through the articles and swipe up on the articles for more. All of the editions are refreshed every 24 hours, therefore it maintains Snapchat’s whole momentary vibe.

Download Snapchat here on the the Android and iOS app store for free.


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