Snapchat is one of the most valuable startups in the world — it’s been valued at $16 billion.
Millennials love it, but Snapchat’s user interface isn’t very intuitive for the uneducated.
What’s all the fuss about? If you’re new to and confused by the self-destructing photo and video app, you’re in luck!
I’m 23, and I use Snapchat obsessively (and so do all of my friends). Here’s how to master Snapchat and all its nuances, so you can become a power user.
There are buttons you can push to turn on and off your camera's flash, as well as to toggle between the back-facing camera and the front-facing, or selfie-mode, camera.
You can see your Snapchat score, the total number of snaps you've received and sent, on your profile.
Other people can add you by pointing their phone at the ghost on your profile and tapping their screen. If you want your friends to easily find you on Snapchat, you should share a screenshot of your Snapchat profile to Twitter or Facebook!
... and you're shown your trophy case of accomplishments on Snapchat. It's a way to gamify your experience on Snapchat by giving you virtual awards for doing certain things, like hitting a 10,000-point Snapchat score.
And then there's some other cool stuff you can do in Snapchat's settings. You can save data by enabling Travel Mode.
Inside the 'manage' section, you can also enable filters. (Definitely enable these -- you won't have any fun without them.)
Now we can get into the fun stuff. Press the circular button to take your picture. If you're taking a video, press and hold. Most of the following will still apply to you.
Ta-da! There's your picture in its most basic form. Once you send this picture, your friends can only see it once before it's gone. They can screenshot it, but you'll see that they did.
Your Snapchat Story lets you share a photo or video with all your Snapchat friends for 24 hours. Unlike a normal Snapchat photo or video, which you can view once, Snapchat Stories can be viewed again and again until they self-destruct 24 hours after their time of publication.
You can tap through the palette to choose your colour, and then have at it. use your finger to doodle all over your picture.
Snapchat hack: If you're on an iPhone, you'll notice white and black are absent from the colour palette (Android users have them built in). You can get the white crayon by touching the palette and dragging your finger towards the top left corner. To get black, touch the palette and drag your finger toward the bottom of the screen.
And there are geolocation filters! The Manhattan one is fun. When you're all set, tap the arrow at the bottom to figure out who to send your snap to.
There are also a ton of weird lenses you can add over your pictures to apply to your face. Lenses lets you take a selfie and then choose one of a handful of face filters to animate your selfie. Here's how you do it.
For starters, open the Snapchat app on your phone. If it defaults to the rear camera, click the little camera icon in the right-hand corner to activate the selfie camera.
Like many Snapchat features, Lenses is not very intuitive or obvious to use. Once you have the camera pointed to you, tap on your face for a couple seconds to turn on Snapchat's Lenses feature.
Ta-da! You'll see a bunch of lenses in the form of small emoticons appear across the bottom of the screen.
Once you take your picture or video, you're ready to send it off. You can choose to set your snap as your Snapchat Story now too.
Snapchat shows you the people who you end snaps to most frequently in your 'best friends,' at the top of your contacts. Below them you'll see recent contacts. Below that, your snaps are organised alphabetically. Once you're ready, press the arrow to send your snap!
Incoming videos are in purple. If you are about to open a video, make sure your sound is on so you can hear it.
Snapchat hack: When the person you're talking to is chatting with you, the yellow button turns blue. If you and your friend both hold down that button at the same time, you can do a live video chat with that person. It's kind of like FaceTime.
When you're chatting with someone, all the text you and your friend send disappears once you leave the conversation. But if you double-tap on a line of conversation...
Here's your Snapchat stories. You can press and hold any of those circles to see your friends' stories, which exist for 24 hours before self-destructing. The circles slowly disappear the longer they are into their 24-hour lifespans.
Press that purple button in the upper right hand corner to leave your stories and see another new Snapchat feature.
This is Snapchat Discover, a newer feature. Snapchat partners with companies like CNN, Cosmopolitan, Vice, and ESPN to show tidbits of Snapchat-exclusive content. This is also where the Snapchat original series 'Literally Can't Even' airs for 24 hours every weekend.
You can swipe up and down and left and right to explore all the content. Here's the first page of Refinery29's Discover on New Year's Eve.
In the 'My Story' feature, you can see how many people have viewed your Snapchat stories from the past 24 hours. You can also see how many people have taken a screenshot of your stories.
Snapchat activated a feature called Snapcash last November, which lets you send money securely to your friends via Snapchat. To activate it, go back into your settings and select Snapcash.
You can enter your card information, which gets processed by Square, and you can also choose to activate a security feature that prompts you to enter your debit card's security code each time you use Snapcash.
Select a friend in Snapchat's chat feature and type a dollar sign in chat. Type in the amount you want to send, and then press the green button.
The money you send through Snapcash will be available for your friend even if they haven't signed up for Snapcash yet.
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