Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year (or just too old…we’ve all been there), you probably already know what Snapchat is. Whether you love sending your friends random videos, or just want to spy on the lives of your favourite celebrities and bloggers, Snapchat is the perfect app for spontaneous, real moments. Move over, Instagram – we’re so over your carefully curated photos and spammy ads.
How To Use Snapchat
Um, this is embarrassing to admit but…what is Snapchat?
Snapchat is basically an app that lets you share temporary picture and video messages with your friends. You can view your friends’ messages for a certain amount of time (depending on the time limit your friend chooses), after which they will disappear from your feed forever.
Is it really that interesting?
Snapchat really only started getting interesting when celebrities and bloggers started using it. Because the app is not as commercialised as Instagram, the content that they post tends to be more spontaneous and…real. In other words, no overly-posed shots, over-ordered food photos and over-hyped products/ads. There is also no public follower count, and anyone you add (whether it’s your BFF or Song of Style) is just parked under your Friends list.
Candid selfies of bloggers Song of Style and Xiaxue. (Source: songofstyle Snapchat/xiaxue Snapchat)
Snapchat is also pretty cool because you get to see snippets of other peoples’ lives, and can live vicariously through their travels while you lie at home in your ratty pyjamas.
Song of Style’s food Snapchats aren’t exactly #foodporn, but at least you know that she actually ate that. (Source: songofstyle Snapchat)
How do I get started?
After downloading the app, click ‘Sign Up’ and enter your details. You will then be prompted to create a username and verify your phone number. After that, you’re pretty much set.
Snapchat doesn’t seem to let you sign in on multiple devices though (i.e. on your iPhone and iPad), so you have to sign in again if you want to switch devices.
How do I add people?
Click on the Snapchat icon (the white ghost) at the top of your screen to get to your profile page. Click ‘Add Friends’ and you can choose to add by username or from your Address Book.
OMG I added Xiaxue as a friend on Snapchat and I can see her videos! Does this mean I can send her random videos too?!
Ehh…no. Unless she adds you as a friend, that is. Basically, adding someone as a friend on Snapchat means that you can view the Snapchats that they post on their feed (which is called a Story).
If you’ve added a friend and she added you back, it means that you guys can send each other Snapchats.
Most public figures (i.e. celebrities or popular bloggers) would have probably set their settings so that only their friends can send them snaps, so they don’t get a bunch of random (or weird) snaps from strangers.
If you prefer not to have random people sending you Snapchats, you too can change your settings by going to your profile page, then clicking on the cog icon at the top right of your screen.
You can also turn on filters (to make you Snapchats look prettier), front-facing flash, replay (so that your friends can view your Snapchats over and over again for 24 hours), and Power Save Mode (not sure what that entails, but it sounds handy). Just go to ‘Manage’ under the ‘Additional Services’ header on your Settings page to access these function controls.
How do I send photo or video messages to my friends?
On the camera screen, hit the big round button to record a message. Press it once to take a photo, or hold down on it to record a video. After you’re done, you can add text or scribbles on it by clicking on the T and pencil icons at the top right of the screen.
For photo messages, you can also set the viewing duration by clicking on the timer icon on the bottom left of the screen. Your friends will only be able to view it for that amount of time, after which the message will disappear. This is perfect for when you feel like trolling your friends with derp face photos, but don’t want them to have incriminating photos of you stored in their phone.
To send your message to a friend, click on the arrow icon at the bottom right of the screen. To add it to your feed/Story (which basically means that all your friends will be able to view it, as opposed to just the one you send it to), click on the square+ icon at the bottom left of your screen.
What do the different icons mean?
Snapchat has A LOT of icons, but basically a solid arrow means that your Snapchat has been sent to your friend. An empty arrow means she’s seen it. For a full list of icons and what they mean, see here.
But…but…I really want to save that video I just posted!
You can save your own Snapchat to your phone by clicking on the downward arrow icon at the bottom left of your screen. (See Diagram A above)
How do I view my friends’ Snapchats?
If your friend sends you a Snapchat, you’ll receive a notification to view it. If you want to view your friend’s Snapchats on her Stories page (i.e. public feed), click on the line icon at the bottom right of your screen. To view a Snapchat, hold down on the username. Some people post multiple photos or videos in a Snapchat, but you can tap on it while it’s active to skip to the next photo or video.
Don’t forget to turn down the volume (or use earphones) if you’re using Snapchat in public though – or the whole office will know you’re watching a Dash video at your desk, instead of doing work like you should be.
(Source: xiaxue Snapchat)
What about saving messages that my friends send me?
You can’t save messages that your friends send you, but you can screen shot them if you want to be sneaky/devious.
If your friend adds a Snapchat to her Stories page, you will be able to view them for an unlimited number of times for 24 hours. So yes, this means you can watch that Dash video over and over again until it expires.
To add your Snapchat to your Stories page, click the square+ icon at the bottom left of your screen. (See Diagram A above)
I want to add someone because I want to spy on her life. Will she know it’s me?!!
Y U SO SNEAKY? But yes, you can change your display name by clicking on your username under the big yellow Snapchat icon on your profile page. To get to your profile page from your camera screen, click on the Snapchat icon (white ghost) at the top of your screen. You can’t change your username (the name you use to sign into your account with) but you can change the display name that appears when you add someone on Snapchat.
Your profile page on Snapchat
Okay okay, I know my way around Snapchat. Now, for the important part – who should I follow on Snapchat?!
There are quite a few celebrities and bloggers (both local and international) who are already using the app, so here are a few names to get you started:
Aimee Song – songofstyle
Nicole Warne – garypeppergirl
Rihanna – rihanna
Fleur DeForce – fleurdeforce
Kendall Jenner – kendalljenner
(Source: kendalljenner Instagram)
Hailee Steinfeld – haiz
Ryan Seacrest – ryanseacrest
Gigi Hadid – doublegiforce
Wendy Cheng – thexiaxue
Rachel Lim (Love Bonito) – ms_rach21
(Source: ms_rach Instagram)
Lian Meiting – lianmeiting
Mongchin Yeoh – mongabong
Jemma Wei – jemmawei
What else is interesting on Snapchat?
Snapchat also has a Discover section where you can check out videos, photos and articles from publications like CNN, Cosmopolitan, Food Network, MTV and more. It’s basically like reading a cool and somewhat interactive magazine on your phone.