Just how big is Snapchat? BIG.


Since you started reading this blog, about 200.000 pictures have been shared on the social media platform.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a text and video messaging application, where posts disappear after a certain time, decided by the user. Just like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it has a public feed and a private chat. Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat, described the platform with only one word: "entertainment.".

I couldn't agree more, it's a lot of fun.

If you don't know how to use it nor understand its UI very well, today is your lucky day, here you can find all the basics instructions on how to use Snapchat.

Snapchat: Home page

Opening the app triggers the camera right away. You have few options on the home page: own profile, private chat, public stories and discover.

Snapchat: your profile and advanced settings

You can access your profile by tapping on the Snapchat logo on top.
Snapchat how to access own Profile
First, you'll have to change your settings. We want to activate the additional services: colors and special filter for pictures. Go to Snapchat settings, tap on Manage under Additional Services and toogle each row to opt-in, just like shown in the gif:
Snapchat manage advanced Settings
Now, let's add some friends or people to follow.

To add a friend you need to know the username or check through your contacts under "Add friends". Snapchat doesn't let you connect to Facebook or Twitter, so there's no other solution.

However, Here are some usernames of top Snapchat users from around the world and from us for you to start:
The friends' list has a best friends' section (those you communicate the most) and it looks like this:
Snapchat Friends list
Snapchat TIP: edit your friends' name by tapping the setting crown next to it. No more username-only.
Snapchat edit names
Ok, enough with these boring settings. Let's send some snaps.

Snapchat: Send a Picture or a video

[Tweet "The best way to learn any social media channel is to try it, make mistakes and learn. HT:@bocedi"]

To take a picture, just tap once on the centred big button.

For a video, keep pressing. The maximum lengths of a video is 10 seconds.
Snapchat take a picture

We will go through picture edits now, but a video works exactly the same.

For a picture, you can then decide how many seconds it will last. 

Snapchat TIP: pictures shouldn't be longer than 3 seconds or they are boring to watch.
Snapchat seconds

Snapchat: add filters, text and colors

On the image preview swipe right or left to add colored filters, the current time, local weather, your speed or Geofilters (if you're lucky enough to live where they exist, there's none here in Helsinki ).
Snapchat special filters
Tap anywhere to add text. You can edit your words, their color and position by tapping on the "T icon" on top-right or directly on the text.
Snapchat edit text
Finally, you can add some colors! Tap on the pencil, choose the color(s) and draw away!
Snapchat add colours
TIP: Where do you find the white and black colors? All the different tones of colous are "hidden". Choose one color then keep pressing while swiping towards different angles of the screen to get to different shades of colous. On Snapchat, the color white is on the top-left corner, black on the bottom-left corner.. It's a very uncommon UX-choice but also very easy to learn.
Snapchat different shades of coulour
(Source picture: Mplatco)

Once your artwork is completed, send it to your friends or add it to your story.
TIP: Pinch the text to zoom it in or out. Emojis can be used as replacement for faces and...emotions (duh).
Snapchat send picture

Snapchat: Stories and Discovery

I will talk more about stories in the third part of this "Snapchat trilogy" I'm writing, for the basic users it's enough to know that you can add a picture or video to your story by tapping the "+" sign on the bottom. That picture or video will be public and can be viewed by any of your followers. You can add an infinite number of pictures or videos to create a long story.

Add to story

By tapping the lower right corner you access all public stories from people you follow.

In the Stories page, tap the top-right corner and you get to Discover, an innovative way to explore stories from different editorial teams. You can read news and watch videos from Snapchat and its editorial partners.

Snapchat Stories and discovery

We have now gone through all the basics. Try Snapchat for a few days and come back for more Snapchat secrets in the next days! Have fun snapping away!

  • How to use Snapchat Part 2: Advanced tricks and tips;
  • How to use Snapchat Part 3: How to create amazing stories that reach thousands (coming soon).

    p.s: needless to say, you can download Snapchat from www.snapchat.com