Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to send disappearing photos to other users. Our newer generation love it but it can be quite difficult to figure it out. You may recognise Snapchat through it’s infamous dog filter, but there’s a lot more to the app than Snapchat filters!

To create a Snapchat account, all you need is a username and password and be over the age of 13. Pretty worrying if you ask me considering Snapchat’s reputation. Snapchat hasn’t died out yet, but I feel like it is on its way out. However, I thought I’d make a guide on using Snapchat in case anyone was interested in picking it up to use to promote courses, or use as an assessment tool.

Snapchat opens with a camera which you must give permissions to use, as well as record audio and video.

At the top left, you’ll have your avatar, and if set, this can be your Bitmoji avatar. I believe Bitmoji became popular due to its use through Snapchat but I could be wrong. Clicking on the avatar, you will be brought to your profile page which shows your Bitmoji, snap score, username, star sign, an option to find friends, options to add stories to your profile or to a wider audience outside of your friends, add friends, view your friends, change your Bitmoji or access the Snap Map. Right at the bottom, you can also see when you joined Snapchat. At the top right of this page is a settings cog, which opens up information regarding the users details, such as username, birthday, sign-in details (number/email), password, notifications, privacy settings, additional settings, support, feedback, legal bits and account actions.

Here are some helpful terms and definitions from the above paragraph:

Bitmoji avatar: an animated avatar that the user sets up, usually portraying themselves

Snap score: the score that is somehow calculated based on how many snapchat messages or photos the user receives or sends

Add stories: users can take photo/videos, or upload pre-existing photo/videos, to their stories which is viewable by all of their friends. Snapchat also has the ‘Our Story’ setting which, if the user has location turned on, will set a story for the location e.g. if I set a story in Our Story, a user could click on Basingstoke in the Snap Map and see my story.

Snap Map: if location is turned on through the app, other people who have the user added can see their exact location at all times. Users can also see stories that other people have posted using the Our Story function through Snap Map, although this is only available if the user has turned location on and is using Snap Map.

From the first page, a user can also add friends, switch camera, turn on/off flash, set night mode and set other features, such as multi snap, timer, focus and grid. Using the bottom middle circle, the user can take a photo and the smiley face next to it opens up the filters. Within filters, users can create their own, scan or browse existing filters. Holding down the circle, will start a video recording which users can also add filters to. Underneath the circle, there is an option to choose photos from previous Snaps, or upload from the camera roll. Users can hide existing snaps, edit, share and delete them.

Some more terms:

Filter: there are different options of filters within Snapchat. Some are part of games, where users can take part in playing mini solo player games, and others can overlay objects, animals, or colours to their face.

Moving onto the Discover feature, users can see friends stories but also ads and other public figure stories. Snapchat uses the Discover feature to advertise popular magazine, different apps, products and more. As there isn’t much to add to this section (it’s just a really busy interface), I’ll move onto Chat.

The Chat part is where, oddly enough, the chats happen. When a user sends a Snap, it keeps a log in the Chat feed. This is where users can then click into chats and have actual text conversations with other users. Within this, then can phone call and video call, send photos/videos, send bitmojis, stickers or start a multiplayer game. Depending on the users preferences, chat messages can be saved, or they can be deleted as soon as the user leaves the chat. Through the chat, you’ll also be able to see the recipients avatar, which you can click on and view their username, snap score, request their location or share your own, shared saved images, chat attachments and ‘charms’ which are essentially achievements for using Snapchat. Users can also have group chats where users can do the same bits and bobs in a regular chat just with more people!

Snap: a picture message… I should have explained earlier.

You may also hear the term ‘Snap Streak‘. A snap streak is where users send images back and forth with each other every day, and in the style of gamification, it counts how many days you have been sending images back and forth. The higher the snap streak, the better friends you are essentially. The snap streak is signified by a fire icon with a number next to it.

There may also be emojis attached to a user. These signify different things and you can find their meanings here.

Right, so, I think I have explained pretty much everything about Snapchat. I am not the most avid user, despite my love of social media, so there may be bits and bobs I have missed so please do let me know if there’s a new term you’ve heard and would like me to investigate. I noticed this question is asked a lot and as a fellow Gen Z, it is my duty to respond and help. I hope this blog post has been useful in understanding the wonders of Snapchat. See you next time!