The first time I heard about Snapchat, it was the app that would make your naked selfies disappear. Just what every mom needs, amiright? Totally kidding. I thought it was a clever idea, but I was definitely embarrassed to even have it on my phone.
Fast-forward a few years, and Snapchat has quickly become one of my all-time favorite social media apps. I love using Snapchat to share photos and videos, see what friends (and ok, I’ll admit it, random celebrities) are up to, and even catch up on news and current events. Plus, the filters put Instagram’s to shame.
Snapchat is unlike any other social app out there, which is why it’s becoming so popular. The only problem: It is really difficult to figure out. If you’re like me, when you first joined the Snapchat club, you had no idea what the heck was going on and decided it just wasn’t worth it to figure out. But, let me tell you: it is!
Since asking your favorite teenager how to use Snapchat would be way uncool, here’s my mom’s guide to Snapchat. By the end of it, you’ll be puking rainbows. Literally.
When taking a Snap, use the white circle at the bottom to take a photo. Hold the button down and you’ll film a video. Turn the camera to take a selfie using the camera button at the top. (Then, use the beauty filter. It’s the greatest thing ever invented.)
After you’ve taken your photo or video, you’ve got a ton of options. You can change the number of seconds your photo is visible with the timer on the bottom left. Save your Snaps to your phone with the down arrow. You can send the Snap to your friends using the right arrow. The Snap can also be saved to your Snap Story using the square on the bottom. Saving a Snap to your Snap Story is sort of the equivalent of posting something on your Facebook wall. Those who follow you can view your Snap Story at any time. More on where those live in a bit.
The buttons at the top allow you to add fun text and artwork to your Snaps. The square at the top will get you emojis. After you add an emoji, you can make it larger or smaller by pinching it with two fingers. The ‘T’ at the top will add text to your Snap. Hit the ‘T’ twice, or a third time, to change the style of the text. Use the pen to add artwork to your Snap. Finally, swiping left or right will bring up all sorts of effects for your video or photo: black and white, time stamps, geo tags that change based on your location, and the option to speed up or slow down videos.
More about Snap Stories
If you’re coming to Snapchat to view Snap Stories from others, swipe left before taking a Snap. You’ll arrive at a new screen that shows the Snap Stories of all those you follow. At the very top, you’ll see your own Snap Story. The Snap Story strings together all Snaps taken in the last 24 hours.
Below your own Story, there’s the Discover and Live sections. The Discover Snaps are essentially news stories from various media outlets created just for Snapchat. The Live Snaps are all Snaps curated by Snapchat from a specific event, such as the Oscars, the World Cup, or the Running of the Bulls. These are some of my favorite things to watch. You get to experience events from all over the world, through the eyes of people actually there.
At the bottom of the page are all the Snap Stories from those you follow. The ones you haven’t watched will appear at the very top. Finally, to search for other Snappers, pull down on the screen to make a search box appear.
Swiping right before taking a picture on the camera screen will get you to all the Snaps and messages that other users have sent directly to you.
Filter, filters, and more filters
Saving the best part for last, let’s talk about filters. Snapchat filters are so much fun. My two-year-old is obsessed with them. Snapchat filters transform you in to animals, outrageously change the shape of your face, and make you puke rainbows. They change on a daily basis, too.
To add a filter, press down on your face in selfie mode (BEFORE you take the picture). Once Snapchat finds your face, the selection of filters will appear. Then, let the fun begin!
And, that’s basically Snapchat in a nut shell. Get out there and start Snapping! Show your kids just how cool you are. Questions? Feel free to comment below and I’d be happy to answer. You can also send me Snaps of your questions (username: meganjoyo). Come follow me and send me all your ridiculous Snaps!
Happy Snapchatting! You can blame me when you’re officially addicted.