What is Snapchat, how does it work and what’s the point?

Snapchat has changed a lot in the past few years. Frequent updates mean the app looks and no longer works as it once did.

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, is so aggressive about making changes to the app that it can be hard to keep up with how Snapchat works, even if you’re a regular user. To make things easier for you and newbies, Pocket-lint has compiled this guide. Eventually, you will know every aspect of the app. 

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. Colloquially, the app is often referred to as Snap by its users.

Meanwhile, the developer of Snapchat is a public company also called Snap, confusingly. The company itself claims to be a camera company. (As such, it creates other products, including hardware, such as Snapchat Spectacles.) Whatever you choose to call it, Snap is led by co-founder Evan Spiegel.

One of the fundamental concepts of the mobile app is that any image, video or message, also known as a snap, that you send by default is only made available to the recipient for a short time before it becomes inaccessible. This temporary or ephemeral nature of the app was originally designed to encourage a more natural flow of interaction.

What’s the point of Snapchat?

Snapchat was initially focused on sharing private person-to-person photos, but now you can use it for a variety of requests, including sending videos, live video chat, messaging, creating caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and sharing a ” “chronological” story that is broadcast to all your followers. There is also a designated “Discovery” area that displays short-form content from major publishers such as Buzzfeed. Snapchat even allows you to store media files in a private area.

Other features include the ability to add AR-based filters and lenses to snap and show your location in real time on a world map. But the key thing to understand about Snapchat is that it is instant communication through your phone . Before Snapchat, social media was very desktop based. For example, you would post statuses, tweets, photos and you would have a log of all these things online so your friends could comment on them and you would see them forever.

Snapchat has changed the way we communicate online. With Snapchat, you can quickly send a photo of yourself with a rainbow spewing AR lens applied to a friend, and once you open it, it will disappear forever. Technically, they can take a screenshot if they want and reply with their own response photo or video, which they can also pass on to their story for friends and followers to see. There are so many uses for this app. It’s hard not to see its value and why it’s unique.

What does all the jargon mean?

Many reports and studies have stated that the majority of Snapchat users are millennials and Gen-Z.

As a result of those younger users, the app has produced a number of different unique terms and names for its functionality, from “snaps” to “story”. If you are confused by all this jargon, you should really read the Glossary section of this Snapchat guide before moving on to how the app actually works.

Snapchatter: Not that common anymore, but it means a Snapchat user.

Take: When you take a photo or video, or receive a photo or video, it is known as a “snap”. So when someone asks you to take them, they ask you to send them a photo or video via Snapchat, or even a message via the app’s chat feature. The Snapchat app itself is also colloquially referred to as “Snap”, as is the developer / public company of the app.

Snapback: This term was more popular when Snapchat launched, but has faded since then. However, if you’ve heard it, just know that it simply means a one click response. So, if you Snapback, you’re just replying to a one-on-one private snap you received.

Story: You can link snaps together and broadcast them as you capture them. They will appear to your followers as a “story” reel. They can scroll through your story and watch each shot to experience the whole day. A reel can only be played for 24 hours, after which it disappears forever, although you can always save the entire story, or a single shot of your story, in the Memory section, also known as private storage, of your Snapchat to keep it forever. .

Snapcode: A Snapcode is a scannable code that makes adding new friends even easier. For example, a friend can simply flash their Snapchat camera on your Snapcode, which will add you instantly, without you having to manually search for their handle and tap the “add” button. Your Snapcode, which is similar to a QR code, can be found on the Profile screen. You can access it by tapping the ghost icon or your Bitmoji in the corner of the camera screen.

Score: Have you ever noticed that number next to a friend’s handle in Snapchat? It’s a score – an equation that combines the number of shots they’ve sent and received, the stories they’ve posted, and other factors. You can find a friend’s score when you press and hold a friend’s name in the contact list, story feed, or chat area. And you can find yours under your Snapcode located in the center of your profile screen. The higher your score, the more likely you are to use Snapchat.

Snapstreak: Some of your friends or people you follow may have different emojis next to their Snapchat names in the Chat section of your Snapchat. This means they are in a series, or Snapstreak, with you. In other words, you and that friend or friends exchanged snaps (excluding chat messages) within 24 hours for more than one consecutive day. For a full list of what each friend emoji means, go to Settings> Manage> Friends Emoji.

Trophy Case : Snapchat may notify you of a new trophy you have earned and tapping that notification will take you to your trophy cabinet, which contains all the trophies for accomplishments you have achieved as a Snapchat user. From submitting a shot with a filter to submitting 50 shots with five or more pen colors, trophies encourage user interaction and content creation.

Lenses: You can make your shots even more fun by adding special effects and sounds based on augmented reality, with a feature called Lenses. To activate the lenses, go to the Camera screen in Snapchat, then long press on the face in the camera view and the lenses should appear in a row next to the capture button. Scroll to select the desired lens, then tap the capture button to take a photo with it. Popular lenses include “rainbow vomit” and “dog with tongue”.

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3D World Lenses: Unlike lenses, which are applied primarily to your face – or a selfie – in real time, World Lenses affect the environment around you. They appear in the same row as the lenses, but only when the camera is facing out. You may also see one that features your Bitmoji avatar. For example, the current one shows our Bitmoji avatar mixing potions and chemicals while sitting at a desk. This animation is superimposed on the world around us and can be captured and then shared with our friends in a chat or with followers via our story. Both the lenses and the lenses of the world are changed frequently by Snapchat, although the popular ones are recurring.

Filter: You can spice up your shot by adding a fun overlay with a filter. After taking a photo, swipe left or right on the preview screen to add color filters, current time, local weather, speed overlays or geofilters to your photo or video. Once you’ve taken your shot and applied the first filter, you can hold and then swipe to add another filter as well.

Geofilter: Like filters, you can use a geofilter to decorate snaps. Unlike filters, however, geofilters are specific to your location or to an event you’re attending. They encourage other users to share their experiences with friends and followers. On-demand geofilters can also be designed and purchased by smaller individuals or businesses and only become available when a user enters a specific location, such as a wedding or graduation venue.

Chat: This is a messaging feature within Snapchat that allows you to chat directly with other users. You can access the Chat section by swiping from left to right on the Camera screen. From here, you can also send Bitmoji stickers, start a live video call, send money, share snaps, and more.

Memories: Since launch, Snapchat has added several features that allow you to take screenshots or save snaps. The last example is Memories. Not only does it give you another way to store snaps in the Snapchat cloud, it also introduces a section for accessing media stored locally on your device. When you take a snap, you’ll see an option to save it to your Memories (it’s like a private storage locker), where you can organize, edit, search, lock and share the snap after the fact.

Discover: This is a section, to the right of the camera screen, designed for brands and publishers, that can convey stories for everyone to see. On Discover, you can find branded content made by Vice, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Tastemade, CNN, Buzzfeed, and others.

Snap Map: With this feature, you can share your location with your friends or followers. It also lets you scroll through a real map to see where your friends are. You can choose whether to share your location, of course. To access the Snap Map, go to the camera screen, then pinch your fingers on the screen as if you were zooming out of a photo and the Snap Map should then appear. You and your friends will be represented by Bitmoji.

Bitmoji: If you’ve downloaded the Bitmoji app, created an avatar, and linked your account to Snapchat, you’ll see AR-based goals with your avatar and stickers in the chat with your avatar. You may also see “friendmoji” stickers in a chat, featuring both you and a friend. Like other features, Bitmoji is designed to encourage user interaction on Snapchat. Keep in mind that Bitmoji was its own separate platform until Snapchat acquired it a couple of years ago.

How does Snapchat work?

Here’s where this app guide gets really complicated. Snapchat updates so often that it’s a waste of time to write a long, step-by-step instruction manual on how to use the app, as Snapchat may look and work completely differently in a matter of days, so we’ll focus on the popular, functional features instead. main screens and how they work in general, but more importantly, the main screens you will see while browsing Snapchat.

Snapchat launches gifts and cash prizes

Snap is rolling out the Gifting feature it announced earlier this year for users around the world, adding a straightforward (albeit somewhat complicated) way for users to pay the accounts they follow for content they appreciate.

The system is basically an in-app tip-jar, which allows you to send “Gifts” that you pay for with real money. The account receiving the gift then receives a portion of that cost from Snapchat, which it earns from the transaction.

It means the expansion of some sort of in-app currency called Crystals that you’ll get paid into, by the look of things, and could easily be framed as part of a strategy to attract the kind of creators who could make big bucks on other platforms that encourage payment. , like OnlyFans and Patreon.

The system is now available to users worldwide, but another feature will primarily be for the United States only. Spotlight Challenges will offer Snapchatters the chance to win stakes in substantial cash prizes by submitting Snaps using specific filters or goals.

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It basically means that brands and creators can run contests entirely within Snapchat, which is an intriguing concept we’ll have to keep an eye on. The feature is currently being tested, according to Snap, and will initially roll out in November in the US.

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