Snapchat is both a messaging platform and a social network. It cannot be used from your desktop and only exists as a mobile app that you can download to your iPhone or Android smartphone.
In short, Snapchat is an app that has really changed the way people interact with their friends compared to other popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Not everyone has access to it, especially older adults, but Snapchat is all the rage even among the youngest smartphone users, including teens and young adults.
Users can chat with their friends by sending them photos, short videos up to 10 seconds long. It is actually sending texts through photos or videos; Text chats and video calls are two other features that are a key part of the app.
With so much to learn about this social media giant, we’ve compiled this article and many others into a companion guide to help you use Snapchat in a fun and safe way.
To use this guide, open the links in the navigation pane. You will see that it is divided into seven different sections: Snapchat Basics, Sending and Deleting Snaps, Engaging with Other Users, About Snapchat Filters, Snapchat Account Management, Snapchat Essentials Privacy Tips, and Snapchat Tips and Tricks. Each section has several articles filled with details on using this social media giant to connect with friends and loved ones.
How Snapchat is different from other social networks
One of the most unique aspects of Snapchat is the ephemeral component of all the content shared there. Photos and videos basically disappear within seconds after being viewed by their recipients.
Unlike other social networks, which keep your content online forever unless you decide to delete it, disappearing Snapchat content makes online interaction feel more human and a bit more grounded in the present moment. You no longer have to worry about posting the perfect photo, or wondering how many likes or comments it might receive, as it disappears in seconds and the only interaction you can receive in return is a form response. photo, video or chat.
Building on its huge success, Snapchat ended up giving users their own kind of news feed where they could post photos and videos that could be viewed by their friends as a story clip rather than a private message or of group. These clips – called stories – are posted for just 24 hours before they disappear.
Snapchat users for teens and sexting
The biggest Snapchat users are teens and young adults who dabble in social media and are quite addicted to their smartphones. As Snapchat photos automatically self-destruct, a big trend has emerged: Snapchat sexting.
Kids basically take provocative photos of themselves and send them to their friends / boyfriends using Snapchat, and they feel more free to do so because they know those photos are deleted after a few seconds.
Saving Snapchat screenshots
Snapchat messaging feels private when sending just one message to another friend, and the disappearance effect makes users feel a little more daring. Unfortunately, their controversial photos and videos can still end up somewhere on the web without their permission.
The general rule of sharing on the Internet is this: if you put it on the web, it will be there forever – even if you delete it later. It’s reassuring to know that Snapchat content is automatically deleted soon after being viewed, but there are always ways to capture that content and save it… forever.
According to the FAQ section of Snapchat site, users are notified if one of their recipients tries to take a screenshot of one of their snapshots. Screenshots can indeed be captured if a user does so quickly, and the sender is always immediately notified.
Despite the screenshot notifications, there are still ways to capture snapshots without the senders knowing. Countless tutorials have been posted online on the subject, and Snapchat has done its part by continually updating the app to keep privacy and security at the top of the line.
Facebook’s Poke app mimics instant chat
At the end of 2012, Facebook announced that it was releasing an application to compete with Snapchat. The Facebook Poke app has been launched, which looks like almost everything about Snapchat.
Lots of eyebrows were raised shortly after Facebook Poke’s post. Many have criticized the social media giant for creating a full copy of such a successful app and have raised questions about potential issues in Facebook’s product development arena. Two weeks after its launch, Facebook Poke never made it into the top 100 apps on iTunes – while Snapchat remained in fourth place.
Facebook Poke failed to compete with Snapchat in terms of capturing a strong user base. Maybe Zuckerberg should have stuck with his retro poke feature, which we all had fun with on our Facebook profiles in 2007.
In 2016, Instagram unveiled its own Snapchat-like stories feature to compete with the popular app. Users were surprised at how oddly she looked like Snapchat, almost as if Snapchat itself was integrated directly into Instagram.
So far, the new Instagram seems to be a pretty big hit. People are using it, but this success is not yet big enough to convince users to stop using Snapchat stories.
Get started with Snapchat
Now that you know what Snapchat is and what to watch out for in terms of security, check out this tutorial on how to use it. You need to download the free iOS or Android app from iTunes or Google play, or make sure you have the most recent version if you already have it.
The app will ask you to create an account by entering an email address, password and username. Snapchat will ask you if you want to check which friends in your social network are already using Snapchat.
While it reminds us a lot of SMS, the app works with your data plan or WiFi connection to send and receive Snapchats. Remember that once a Snapchat has expired, you can no longer view it.