Snapchat 101: A Beginner’s Guide

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You might be staring at your phone, wondering why your friends have suddenly turned into screen-licking dogs and flower-crown-donning goddesses with magical eyes. Well, my friend, you better sit down for this. The phenomenon you’re currently witnessing is the rise of one of today’s most popular social media platforms: Snapchat.

Snapchat is a messaging app that was launched in 2011. Since its release, it has received mixed reviews. In the beginning, the majority of the app’s users were teenagers. However, Snapchat has since gained so much popularity that even big companies and brands have joined the bandwagon and have been using it to leverage their business.

There are tons of messaging apps out there – but what exactly sets Snapchat apart from the rest? Well, the concept of “Snaps” disappearing within 24 hours! As in, you take a Snap now and then 24 hours later, they are gone forever! Also, you get to see who’s viewed your Story and your Snaps, as well as who took screenshots! Woah!

So if you’re planning to jump on the Snapchat bus, here’s a rundown of how you can set it up! Consider this a crash course.

Step 1: Download the app

Snapchat is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play for FREE. All you need is your smartphone and WiFi, and you’re good to go.

Step 2: Sign up

If you don’t have an existing account yet, of course the first thing you need to do is sign up. You will need to provide the app with your email address, a password, and your birthday.

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Once you’ve filled all these information out, tap on “Sign Up.” Note that you need to be at least 13 years old to use Snapchat.

You will then be asked to choose a username. Pick one that you really, totally, truly, genuinely like because there’s no option to change it later on!

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After that, you will need to verify your identity by providing Snapchat with your mobile phone number. Don’t fret, Snapchat promises not to share this information with other users on the platform. Once you’ve entered your number, you will be sent a six-digit verification code. Once you receive it, enter the code into the “Verification Code” field.

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Also, Snapchat could make you take this extra step in the verification process. Don’t panic when you see this on your screens:

 

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In case you’re wondering, the “ghost” is the one that looks like the Snapchat logo (although, honestly, it looks more like Flubber to me.)

Step 3: Add your friends via your Contacts

Because the fun is in sharing your Snaps with friends, you’ll probably need to add them up. Snapchat determines which people in your Contacts are also on Snapchat. You’ll have to allow the app to do so by granting it access to your Contacts.

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Just tap on the “Add” button next to the Contact’s name if you’d like to add them to your Snapchat.

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Step 4: Manage your account and set your preferences

Your account has been set up and now you’re almost ready to start Snapping! Before anything else though, make sure to set up your preferences.

 

You can access your settings by going to that page with your Snapcode and tapping on the little gear icon on the upper right side of the screen:

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You can choose who can view your Story and who can send you messages by going to your settings:

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Activate other features so you can fully enjoy your Snapchat experiences. By turning on Filters, you are automatically allowing Snapchat to access your location.

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Step 5: Start Snapping!

This is the funnest, most exciting part of course!

Use your camera to start taking Snaps! Like usual, tap anywhere on the screen to adjust the focus. This is what you will see when you first open your Snapchat camera:

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A: Turn the flash on or off.
B: Ghost icon takes you back to your Snapchat profile (where you can find your Snapcode)
C: Switch from rear-view camera to front-facing camera
D: View the Snaps you’ve received from other users (main messaging area). Takes you to this page:

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E: Access your Story and other people’s Stories as well. Will take you to this page:

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This is where you will see your friends’ updates! :)

F: Of course, the camera button. Tap to take a photo; hold to take a video.

Have fun with your Snaps!

There are soooo many things you can do with your Snaps! You can use the different filters and lenses, add text to your Snaps, and even draw on them and create a Snapsterpiece!

Swipe left or right and choose the filter that best suits you. Play around with the fun lenses Snapchat comes up with every day!

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Get to know the different icons you see on your screen after you’ve taken a photo or video.

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1: Discard your Snap with this X icon. Careful, though, because when you exit, there is no way you’re getting that Snap back!
2: Add emojis and stickers to your Snap!
3: Add text to your Snaps by tapping this icon.

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Double-tap for bigger, bolder text.

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You can change the text colors using the slider bar on the right side of the screen:

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4: Draw and doodle on your Snaps using this pen tool. If you make a mistake, just use the “undo” arrow. To exit the pen tool, just tap on the icon again.

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5: Set a time limit using this icon. You can choose how long you want your recipient to view your Snap for — up to 10 seconds.

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6: Save your photo or video to your device before sharing it to your story using this icon.
7: Add your Snap to your story by tapping on this icon.
8: Send your Snaps to your friends or to your Story by tapping on this arrow icon! Woohoo!

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Make your Stories fun and awesome to watch by adding a mix of photos and videos. If you’re a brand aiming to up your business, then maybe you should dump content into your Snapchat Story! Let’s talk about that more on another post. :)

Can’t wait to see you all Snapping, and I hope this post has been helpful! Anything I missed, or any hacks you might want to share? Comment down below, send me an e-mail (hello@leeyan.net), or better yet, SNAP ME!

Screenshot the Snapcode below. Let’s be friends:

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Happy Snapping!

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