Snapchat is a popular mobile multimedia messaging app that is taking millennials by storm. It is symbolized by a white ghost-shaped logo. The developers claim that “Snapchat is the best way to reach 13 to 34 year-olds.” They say that the app is highly popular among its target audience because it provides “a personal window into the way you and your friends see the world.”
In the world of Snapchat, images and clips are precious. The photos and videos that you send are referred to as “snaps” that your friends can view for up to 10 seconds before they completely disappear.
Although some may be baffled by the concept of posting something that will be gone after a brief period, it makes Snapchat unique and interesting.
In 2013, Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion but the founders declined the offer.
Fortune reports that Snapchat recently raised $175 million in new funding from Fidelity. The investment valued Snapchat at $16 billion, which is the same as its previous funding in March 2015. Snapchat aims to generate revenue between $300 million and $350 million in 2016.
How it works
First thing to do is download the free app. Create an account and user ID. To begin creating snaps, tap the camera button to take a photo or hold to record a video. You can customize the photo or video on the preview screen. There’s a caption tool that lets you type text. Use the pencil tool at the right hand corner to draw all over your picture. You’ll see a color slider that allows you to play with the palette. Use your bare finger or digital pen to trace or doodle over the preview screen. Choose from a variety of other filters to create the look or effect that you want. Recent updates include filters such as lenses that can animate your images. When you’re happy with your snap, tap the snap length icon on the bottom left of the screen. Choose from 1 second to 10 seconds. When you’re done, you can broadcast or send it to friends.
Snapshot has a feature called “story”, a 24-hour collection of photos and videos, which the user may broadcast to all followers or share with selected friends. When you send a story, your followers will be able to view it for an unlimited number of times within 24 hours. You will know who viewed your story. Adjust settings to control who is able to view your stories.
If you’re new on Snapchat and still learning the ropes, here are some basic words based on Pocket-lint that can help you along the way.
- Snapchatters – People who use Snapchat
- Snaps – Photos or videos taken using Snapchat
- Snapback – A reply to a snap
- Story – A snap that a user can broadcast to his/her friends within a period of 24 hours. A Snapchatter can post multiple snaps as part of his/her story in one day to create an account of interesting moments and highlights of the day.
- Score – Number of accumulated snaps a user has sent and received. The score appears next to the person’s name under the Snapchat logo. The user can view friends’ scores by tapping on their name in the list of contacts.
- Chat – A feature that allows a user to send private or direct messages to friends
- Here – A live video chat feature within a direct message
Amid the Snapchat craze, some parents are worried about the risk of “sexting”. For the technology-challenged, it means that the app can be used by a person to take naked images or photos with sexual innuendo and send it to someone else.
Unsuspecting teenagers may come to the conclusion that sending inappropriate photos on Snapchat won’t get them into trouble because the images/videos will disappear after a few seconds.
Unfortunately, some people who have ulterior motives can take a screenshot of the Snap or use another camera to take a photo of it. A teenager’s revealing photo can wind up on the Internet. Even adults can become victims too.
Snapchat is not intended for children under 13 years old but since the app doesn’t require to state the age on signup, parents are advised to talk to their children about the app and explain age limitations.
The app has a dedicated Safe Center page that includes community guidelines, safety tips and resources, and advice for parents and teachers.
Snapchat encourages users to be kind and respectful when creating and sending Snaps. Users are also reminded to think carefully about the content of their photos and videos.
Keep in mind that what you broadcast and send to friends can backfire at you. Do not send inappropriate snaps.
Check privacy settings to choose who can send snaps and view your stories.
Report any incident involving harassment or bullying. Block the person to prevent further problems.
Safeguard your password by not sharing it with other people, applications or websites.
Photo collage by author. Photo screencaps from Snapchat website.