The popularity of Snapchat has skyrocketed since launch. And Snapchat is especially popular with younger generations. However, you may find the whole thing a little confusing.
So, what is Snapchat? How does Snapchat work? Is Snapchat right for you? In this article, we answer all of these questions and more.
What Is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a multimedia app that can be used on smartphones running Android or iOS. It allows you to send pictures or videos, named “Snaps,” to friends. These Snaps vanish after they’ve been viewed.
The platform also offers a Chat function, similar to instant messaging services like WhatsApp. The main difference, however, is that, as with Snaps, Chats disappear once they’ve been viewed.
You can change your settings so Chats vanish 24 hours after opening instead. They can also be saved by tapping once on the message; either user in the conversation can delete Chats by tapping again.
Nonetheless, the whole point of Snapchat is that anything sent soon disappears.
Publications also use it to circulate specific content, like short articles and image-centric stories. That means it’s also a good way of keeping up-to-date with news (particularly related to the entertainment industry).
How Does Snapchat Work?
Once you download Snapchat from the App Store or Google Play, you need to sign up using your email address. It will require your name, date of birth, and phone number. You also need to pick a username and password. Despite what it says, you can change your Snapchat username.
Snapchat needs access to your camera so you can capture images or videos. You can switch between your front- and rear-facing cameras using the icon at the top right. Press the button at the bottom of your screen to take a photo or hold it down to take a video.
The sender can set a time limit or let it loop continuously. Once the recipient sees your Snap and navigates away from it, it disappears.
There are three main interfaces. The camera screen opens when you click on the app. Discover is found to the right of this and displays new Stories from contacts and articles from publications. Finally, the Chat function, which also lists your friends, is located to the left of your camera screen.
To Chat with someone, just tap on their name and type. You can also send a Snap, emoji, or photo from your Camera Roll in Chat threads.
Of course, its functionality extends beyond this to include things like Lenses, Memories, and Group Chats. Newbies should learn some basic Snapchat tips and tricks before moving onto more advanced skills.
How Can You Add Friends on Snapchat?
After signing up, Snapchat asks for permission to access your address book. You can do this and manually accept any contacts also using the app.
Alternatively, talk to your friends. They can either give you their username or share a Snapcode, which is like a QR code which you scan and automatically add. Snapchat will also suggest people to add based on mutual friends.
Find out your Snapcode by clicking on your profile, found at the top left of your camera screen.
What Age Is Snapchat Appropriate For?
Snapchat asks your date of birth when you sign up. You have to be 13 to use Snapchat.
However, if you’re younger than that, you’ll be redirected to SnapKidz. This lets children take Snaps, draw, and make captions, but stores them locally on their device. Essentially, it stops kids sending messages to each other.
Naturally, anyone desperate enough to use Snapchat properly can pretend to be older, though we don’t advocate that.
Snapchat is most popular with millennials and younger. 71 percent of users are under 34 years old, and 45 percent of these are between 18 and 24, the majority of whom use the app numerous times each day.
Why Do Teenagers Love Snapchat?
There’s a strong argument that Snapchat is the new Facebook. It’s certainly seen the same meteoric rise in popularity Mark Zuckerberg’s company did in its heyday.
In many ways, Snapchat exists as the antithesis of traditional social networks. We’re sure some people use it precisely because it goes against what was popularized by previous generations—it’s about kids discovering a new means of expression.
Facebook is a repository of memories; it keeps your photos safe, reminds you of status updates from five years ago, and mawkishly builds communities. Instagram encourages you to look great and have a perfect life to show off to all your followers.
Snapchat feels more spontaneous. It doesn’t sentimentalize, though you can save to your Camera Roll or Memories.
It’s a simple way of staying in touch with friends without having to be too on the ball. Sending a Snap or Chat is quick and easy, and lets you tell your peers that you’re thinking of them.
Is Snapchat Full of Porn?
Anything sent between users vanishes. It’s this function that makes people associate the app with adult material: users can send Not-Safe-For Work (NSFW) images, thinking that the recipient can’t save them or show anyone else.
Fortunately, only a very small percentage of people use Snapchat in this way. Of course, the adult industry thrives on many platforms, and there certainly is a seedier side to Snapchat. But rest assured it’s only a small part of Snapchat.
What do users share on Snapchat? This is social media, so expect photos of cats and dogs. Expect selfies. Expect vacation photos.
So is Snapchat safe to use? Yes, Snapchat could be used for NSFW purposes—but no more so than any other social network or online platform. For most people, it’s not something you should worry about.
Should You Download Snapchat?
You’ve probably already made up your mind. After learning what Snapchat’s all about, you’re likely either intrigued or questioning its existence.
If you’re in your teens or 20s, you’re sure to know people already using Snapchat. The app is geared towards younger generations. This also means it’s a great tool for businesses looking to capitalize on the 18-34 demographic, although there’s nothing as cringeworthy as a company trying to appear “hip”.
With that in mind, don’t download the app and immediately add your kids. They won’t want to share their Stories with you, even if there’s nothing embarrassing about them. Try to stay within your own age range.
However, our smartphones are there to entertain and help us keep in touch. Snapchat achieves that. It’s a fun service that lets you quickly capture moments without spending too long on social media. Is there really any harm in giving it a go?
And if you decide it’s not for you, you can always stop using it and delete the app.
Become a Snapchat Pro
If you do decide Snapchat is for you, it won’t take long before you’re using Snapchat on a daily basis. In fact, more than 300 million people use it every month. In the six minutes it has taken you to read this article, some 3,168,000 Snaps have been sent.
If you think Snapchat’s right for you, get on board. Now all you need to do is know how to increase your Snapchat Score and prove yourself a pro!