Tech Tips from a Teenager: A Guide to Using Snapchat

Tech Tips from a Teenager: A Guide to Using Snapchat

I’ll be honest – I didn’t jump on the Snapchat bandwagon as soon as it left the station. Although I’ve heard my friends talk about it for quite some time, I already had my hands full managing the social media accounts of several clients as well as my own profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Periscope, Twitter, and Instagram. I didn’t need another profile to manage.

But I had an important reason to be on Snapchat: my teenage niece. Although we live halfway around the world from each other, we communicate regularly online. Like a typical teen, she has given up on Facebook and only tweets occasionally. While she does use Instagram often, where she really spends most of her time is on Snapchat. She’s not alone. Sixty percent of the high school students in the graduating Class of 2015 reported that they used Snapchat daily, up from 46% of the members of the Class of 2014 that used it daily. The following stats are from DMR, a clearinghouse of digital stats and news:

  • 400 million snaps a day are shared on the social network.
  • 35% of the 100 million daily Snapchat users prefer the platform because the content disappears.
  • 71% of all Snapchat users are under age 34.
  • 77% of college students are using it daily.
  • 28% of teens consider it their most important social network.
  • 30% prefer because their parents are not on the site.
  • Snapchat’s most popular feature is its stories with 1 billion SC stories viewed a day.
  • Perhaps you want to learn about Snapchat too, in order to connect with a teen in your life or just to hop on board an increasingly popular social media platform and be part of the action.

While organizing a Snapchat event here on the Big Island as part of National Social Media Day, I turned to an expert on the social media network – my 15-year-old niece Alex Laitinen, (Twitter handle: @Alex_devotee.) Below is her very first blog post, “Tech Tips from A Teenager, A Guide to Using Snapchat.” Learn how to send a snap, add filter, and more.

snapchat Tech Tips from A Teenager, A Guide to Using Snapchat

Aloha everyone and welcome to my basic guide on how to use Snapchat. Today I will be showing you around the social media phenomenon known as Snapchat, how to navigate around the app and some useful tips and tricks to help you up your Snapchat skills!

You’re probably asking yourself, “What is Snapchat?” It’s a trendy social media platform used by all age groups around the world from kids to adults to share photos and videos about their daily life. The twist is that the pictures disappear permanently after 10 seconds or less.

Getting started:

Snapchat consists of 4 screens you can swipe between and each screen has a different function.

Upon opening Snapchat you start on the camera or Snap screen, here is where you take your photos and/or videos. Most of the time you spend on Snapchat will be here.

If you swipe downwards from here (starting at the top of the screen and swiping down) you get your profile page. From here you can add other people, edit your settings, edit your friends nicknames and see whom you are friends with.

Chatting on Snapchat

Go back to the Snap page and swipe from the left to the right; this brings you over to the chat screen. From here you can select whom you want to contact, receive snaps from other people, and see what your streak is with them. Type in a message and click the arrow at the bottom right corner of your screen to send a chat message to a friend.

If you go back to the Snap page and swipe from the right to the left, this brings you to the Stories screen; from here you can look at your story, your friends’ stories, and trending topics.

Sending Snaps

The essence of Snapchat is sending snaps to other people. To send a snap, first find a subject you want to take a photo of, then aim your phone at the subject of interest and press on the circular button in the bottom middle of the screen, if you want to take a video, hold down the button until you want the video to end.

Keep in mind videos only last about 10 seconds. If you are unhappy with your snap, there will be an X at the top left corner of the screen, pressing this will delete your photo letting you retake it.

Once you’ve taken your snap, you can edit it in many ways! There are 3 buttons on the top of the screen, the first is stickers, and these allow you to put pre-made images onto your snap.

Adding stickers to your Snapchat photo is a popular feature on the social media network.

Adding stickers to your Snapchat photo is a popular feature on the social media network.

Next to the stickers icon is the letter “T” for text, which lets you put text over your photo. Click on the “T” a few times for different text options.

Last is the drawing tab which lets you draw on your photo.

Finally, sending your snap, you have a few options here as well. On the bottom of the screen are four more buttons:
1) a clock which for photos allows you to set the time the snap will be viewable;
2) a downward facing arrow which saves your snap to your photos on your phone;
3) a box with a plus which sends the snap directly to your story; and
4) a blue arrow, select the blue arrow and it will take you to a page who you select where you want to send the photo.

Using Snapchat Filters

There are many additional features you can use on Snapchat. Some of the main ones are face filters, color filters, and geo-filters. To use a face filter, go to the snap camera screen, then while having the phone in a selfie position, press on your face with your finger and hold down until it appears. To use a geo-filter or a face filter, have a photo already taken and swipe left or right.

Helpful Snapchat Tips

Snapchat is easy to use but hard to master. Here are some helpful tips to help with your Snaping skills. First, most people can only use one filter, but there is a helpful trick to let you use more, first add one filter to your picture. Then, while having one finger on your snap, scroll with another finger left or right. Your photo will keep the first filter then add the second one on top of it.

Next did you know that that weird yellow block on the profile page is actually a quick way to make friends? First have one person’s phone on the camera, and the other on the profile page, now aim the camera at the yellow block and then touch the block on the camera screen with your index finger and hold down. Finally, if you want to have a thing to talk about with your friend, start a streak. You have to Snapchat them everyday and soon a number will appear next to their name on the chat page.
Snapchat can be brought into the business world by having a quick way to send documents that the other person can screenshot. It can be a different form of texting and helps keep people in touch.

Snapchat is a great way to see what friends are up to and is a quick means of staying in touch with young people!

Happy Snaping! If you have any questions, feel free to email me or come to Social Media Club Hawaii’s event on June 30 at Liko Lehua Café in Hilo from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

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