You’ve probably heard about Snapchat, the popular mobile app that allows you to send videos and pictures, that will self-destruct after a few seconds of a person viewing them, join me as I learn Snapchat and how it might be a useful new tool to have in your arsenal.

What the hell is Snapchat?
The basics of Snapchat
How do I view a snapchat, read my snapbacks or just chat?
What are stories, how do I create them and view?
Applying filters and geofilters on images and video
Talking live on Snapchat – HERE
Snapchat fun – Applying lenses
Snapchat – Varying feedback and perceptions
Snapchat – How do I use this for my business?
Staying up-to-date on new features


What the hell is Snapchat?

SNAPCHAT is a popular mobile app that allows you to send videos and pictures, both of which will self-destruct after a few seconds of a person viewing them.

In an article by David Kilpatrick from Marketing dive, In 2015, Snapchat grew its 18-24 base by 56%, while its 25-34 year old users increased 103% and, most notably, its over-35 user base grew 84% according to comScore.

According to Snapchat, 12% of its almost 50 million daily users in the U.S. are between 35 and 54.

There is nothing like digital landscape and changes in technology and social media to make you feel dated, such as SNAPCHAT.

Snapchat is about “now” – rough cut, unfiltered, and in-the-moment, having self-destructing messages that last a maximum of 24 hours.  When you think about it functioning in real time, you develop a better appreciation of why it’s so appealing compared to other popular platforms

PAST:  Facebook/Instagram
PRESENT:  Twitter/SnapChat
FUTURE:  Pinterest


How is Snapchat different than any other platform? … It’s NOW / It’s URGENT / It’s going to disappear.


The basics of Snapchat

Basic Vocabulary

  • Snaps: Photos or videos taken via Snapchat can only be viewed by the recipient for 1 to 10 seconds before it disappears forever.
  • Filter: An overlay of color, current time, local weather, or speed.
  • Geofilter: A filter only available based on your physical location.
  • Geofence: A geographic boundary based on your location.
  • Snapback: A reply to a snap (in the form of text/photo/video/live).
  • Story: A snap you can broadcast to followers that can be viewed an unlimited amount of times in 24 hours.
  • Chat: A feature that lets you directly message friends privately.
  • Here: A feature that lets you start a live video chat in a direct message.
  • Lenses: Creative filters for your face.

You need to know that Snapchat is so simple – it’s confusing. When learning it, you might feel like your missing out on something, but the truth is – it’s just not that complicated, and let go of “high-brow” sharing, if you don’t have a sense of humor or a moment of silliness you will have a hard time getting the “point” and will sound like a crabby antiquated fossil who apparently has real world responsibilities.

The very basics of getting started

  1. Download the Snapchat app (it’s free) and create an account and user ID.
  2. Open the app
  3. You will land on the screen that wants you to take a photo or video
  4. Press the button at the bottom to take a snap (either touch for a photo or hold to take a video)
  5. Share it: Either send it to a current contact or if you don’t have any just yet – feel free to send it to me (TheDigitalPixie)

Here are a few photos that will explain the various icons you will see on the screen.

How to Snapchat
Once you take a “SNAP” (image or video)
your screen will change and new options are available.

How to Snapchat

TOP LEFT: Start over

TOP RIGHT: Add icons, a line of text, or draw on your image/video

BOTTOM LEFT: Set the number of seconds that your photo can appear once touched.

BOTTOM LEFT: Save your image or video and download to your camera roll.

BOTTOM LEFT: Add it to your story (this means IT’S PUBLIC TO YOUR FOLLOWERS for 24 hours)

BOTTOM RIGHT: Send by choosing Arrows

How do I view a snapchat, read my snapbacks or just chat?

Snapchat: An image or video sent to another individual. 
Snapback: A reply to a snap (in the form of text/photo/video/live).
Chat: A feature that lets you directly message friends privately.

To view your unread snaps, go to the main menu screen and select the square/numbered icon on the bottom left.

viewing snapchats

viewing snapchat messages

Snaps disappear, so when you tap a name, pay attention or you will miss the message.
If you hold your finger on the name you will get a brief profile overview instead of the message.
If you want to take a screenshot, you can (but know that the recipient will be notified).
You do get one free daily replay on snaps to view it again if you need it and can also purchase additional replays by pressing and hold on a snap you just viewed.

To interact with a person that sent you a message (snapback)

Slide to the right – Chat with the person
Double tap a name – Snapchat reply to a person
Hold on their name – (both options will appear)

What are stories, how do I create them and view?

Story: A snap you can broadcast to followers that can be viewed an unlimited amount of times in 24 hours.

Using any image or video taken, tap the story icon from the preview screen (square with a plus sign).

A shortcut to sending a story is to simply take a snap and tap the “send icon” (arrows), and then check off the “My Story” radio button.

You can add to your story constantly, but the snippet will drop off after it expires. Your followers will be able to view it an unlimited number of times in one day. You will also be able to see who has viewed your story.

You can view stories by tapping the three-line icon (bottom right) on the camera screen. Here you will see any stories posted of you and/or your contacts.

You’ll notice at the top of this screen are a number of commercial publishers, you can view original content if interested by tapping on any of these publishers.

Applying filters and geofilters on images and video

Filter: You can apply to an image by swiping left or right
Geofilter: A filter only available based on your physical location.
Geofence: A geographic boundary based on your location.

Filters can be engaged very simply. With any photo, swipe from right to left to engage the basic filters which adjust color or provide a time/temperature/mph overlay. If you take a video, other options will appear such as fast forward or reverse.

paytoplay, sponsored geofilters

Based on your physical location , Snapchat also has what are called Geofilters, these are filters that can be added as an overlay onto an image. There are personal and business geo-filters. Essentially you create a graphic, identify a geospace on a map that it will be available for a user to use, and as individuals enter into that physical space they can add that filter to their Snapchat.

A Personal Geofilter is one that doesn’t include any branding, business marks/names, or logos, and doesn’t promote a business or a brand. You might submit a personal geofilter to celebrate a birthday or graduation, for example.

A Business Geofilter is one that promotes a business or a brand, and has to meet “criteria” according to snapchat.

Filters could be customized to promote an event, and can be submitted with the “pay to play” model
Find out more: Geofilters


Talking live on Snapchat – HERE

Here: A feature that lets you start a live video chat in a direct message.

Two years ago, Snapchat provided a lot of unique ways to interact with your contacts. Individuals can chat (text form), reply with a picture and also stream live, with a feature called “HERE”. 

To use HERE, you will notice that the camera button will turn from yellow to blue which means your friend is available to video chat. Press and hold the blue camera in order to immediately broadcast live video and audio of yourself to your friend.

Video chat works when your camera is facing toward you or even away. You can also lock the feature so that you don’t have to hold your thumb on your screen during the entire broadcast.

Snapchat fun – Applying lenses

Lenses: Creative filters for your face.

A snapchat lens recognizes your face and distorts it.

Warning, if you have a sense of humor and get distracted easily, they are completely highly addictive.

When you’re using the camera screen to take a selfie, place your finger on your face to activate, you’ll notice your face being scanned. This action will activate a feature called lenses. These lenses are able to distort your expression or physical attributes. Select one and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you need more lenses, you can swipe to the left or even purchase additional ones.

(My little one kept checking his face at first)  🙂

Snapchat – Varying feedback and perceptions

I took a look at a number of articles when drafting this blogpost, what was fascinating to me was the comments from the extremely crabby to someone who was a bit more thoughtful in their response … What side do you fall on?… here is a sampling of some crabby ones.

“Wow. I was brought here after hearing Gary Vaynerchuk talk about Snapchat. But now I am really pissed off that I wasted my time.”
“Wow. Seems like way too much information on something that is totally useless.”
“Am 22 and still clueless as to how this app gained traction.”
“What a positively useless app this is. Thank goodness I have absolutely no interest in using it “

Those quotes made me howl, it reminded me of my first thoughts when text messaging first hit the stage. Here is a bit more thoughtful feedback on Snapchat from someone called @cyrusmagnus on Disqus.

“Well here we are in 2016, on the edge of the advent of the VR age, and here we have an app that replicates the ephemeral nature of life, and all you naysayers can’t see the forest for the trees. We’ve gone past getting stuck in the digital. Snapchat’s immediacy is the immediacy of real life!

The image only lasts 10 seconds? But your memory will hold onto it for as long as its relevant! These “kids” are literally training their brains to better handle short, emotionally relevant and “important to someone” pieces of information in their brains rather than relying on cheating themselves with posts they can reread over and over, or pictures or movies they can look at or watch ad nauseum.

We are moving from static information to dynamic information. The “laziness” people noticed of the static information age, where it was all about wiki and facebook and instagram will slowly be replaced by the “nowness” of Snapchat, which will naturally force people to think harder, about what they send, when they send it, for how long its available. And if they’re looking at a snapchat, when they’ll view it, if they’ll screen shot it (and look like a noob), if they’ll respond, when, etc.

But hey. There’s always room for the generation moving out of their 20’s to join the people in their 40’s early. Just give up on progress, innovation, and free thought and call every new, incredible, inventive step forward “stupid” a “waste of time” “

Snapchat – How do I use this for my business?

So here is the essential question, how does Snapchat fit into the landscape of my business and/or event?

At first glance, Snapchat could certainly be seen as silly, trivial, immature, and a huge time waster but there are some positive attributes that are worth taking advantage of.

Snapchat Lenses: Snapchat allows businesses to purchase sponsored lenses which turn your selfies into Ads.

EXAMPLE: This morning, I was playing with snapchat lenses, I was given the option for a face overlay for the video “DEADPOOL”. While the filter was not for me, you better believe there are thousands of Deadpool fans that added it to their story, shared it with their friends and downloaded it for use on other social networks.

Geofilters: Snapchat allows businesses, people, organizations to create their own image and apply it to a geofence.

EXAMPLE: When driving through certain local areas, I have been provided the opportunity to add a geographical filter on top of my image. If I were a business or a non-profit this would be something I would monitor and take advantage of. I’d be looking for events that are well attended and have a diverse demographic. In my area, I can think of the Lilac Festival which runs this week. Purchasing a geo-filter within a geofenced region for a period of time would be a great opportunity to pump local awareness.

I’d love to see more attention from artists and designers who are encouraged to create and submit a free Community Geofilter for their city, university, a local landmark, or another public location to promote positive social thought.

What we can take away – Just cause millennials like it or because you don’t get it doesn’t make it stupid or useless, sometimes you really have to dig in and learn the application, exercise your engagement with it and the develop the “how can I use this?”, “Where does this fit?”.

Staying up-to-date on new features

Besides reading various articles on Snapchat that you are going to find on marketing websites, check Youtube for information on new releases, tips, and tricks.

There is nothing like getting a lesson from a millennial on keeping up with the trends to make you feel like you’ve broken your hip, I mean feel hip.

Follow and Snapchat with me  –TheDigitalPixie– practicing in our real existence only makes us more fluid as new technology appears.

The Digital Pixie on Snapchat

Also, search Youtube: YOUTUBE: snapchat updates 2016

Market updates on Snapchat
Snapchat targets growth in older demographics
Snapchat hits 10B daily video views, catches up to Facebook
Snapchat inks deal with NBC for an exclusive Olympics channel on the app
How Snapchat is charging a premium for interactive ads

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