Snapchat is in the news. And, not just because of Tanmay Bhat and Lata Mangeshkar. Outside India, this app made headlines last week when it received $1.8 billion in funding. With new users signing up by the day, Snapchat is red hot right now. If you already use it, you must be loving it, if you don't, let us not waste time and show you what the fuss is about.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is an application where you shoot a photo or a video, send it to someone and then not think too much about it. Why? Because, the app is designed to delete the photo or video permanently from its database soon after it has been viewed. Developed by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, Snapchat was originally called 'Picaboo'.
Ephemeral candid pictures and videos are what Snapchat is about. That is why the app's home screen is a camera by default. You can click a photo and send it anyone in seconds. You can also text people via the chat function but the app is really meant for sending images.
Starting with Snapchat
The application in available in both Android and iOS. Once you have downloaded it, you need to set up your profile, which is pretty easy.
- Enter your emailID and a password.
- Choose a username.
- Type your name and phone number (optional) and verify it. That's it, and you're good to go.
Snapchat is meant for sending snaps to friends (Although you can send snaps to yourself too. Weird.) So to add friends, click on the snap icon on the home screen and then click on the 'add a friend' tab. You'll get a couple of options.
- Add by Username,
- Add from Address book which is the best bet when you're starting out
- Add from Snapcode (QR code scanning)
- Add nearby (If you and your friend both have this option open)
You can click on a person's name to add them. If their account is open, you can see their snap. Once they add you back, you can send snaps to them too.
Send a snap
Click a pic, click on a friend's name and send it. It is that simple. The best thing is you don't need to think much, as the picture is going to vanish soon anyway. So if you think you have sent a bad snap, click another. To send a video, hold the snap button. The video can be up to 10 seconds long.
You can also:
1. Discard your Snap.
2. Add stickers.
3. Add a caption, re-size your text.
4. Draw something.
5. Define how long someone can see your snap.
6. Save your snap.
7. Add your snap to your "story".
8. Send your snap to your friends.
See friends' snaps
If a friend sends you a snap, you can directly click on the notification and see the snap. Otherwise, you can swipe left on the home screen, see the snaps which have been sent to you and continue the conversation.
If you swipe right on the home screen, you will see your timeline, where on the top you will have your 'story' or a set of snaps posted by you which stay there for 24 hours.
Below that you have 'Discover' with tabs of different media outlets posting to Snapchat.
Then there is the Live section, with a Snap story of an ongoing event.
Below that is your main timeline, where you can see your friends' stories -- their snaps, that can be seen by their followers, and have a shelf-life of 24 hours.
Filters and Lenses
Filters are enhancements on the snaps you have already clicked. (Think something like Instagram.) Once you have clicked a snap, you can swipe left or right to see the various filters available. Filters are generally colour effects, time, speed, temperature, location based stickers. You can add multiple filters too.
Lenses are the most fun part of Snapchat. Imagine your face being turned into a dog or a zombie. And the most used filter is the face swap. Where you can swap your face with a friends' face in the snap or you can pick a photo of anyone, say Sachin Tendulkar or Lata Mangeshkar and shoot a photo or a video of the morphed face result. (Yep, you know about this one).
- Go to the Camera screen in Snapchat
- Press and hold on a face! Lens options will appear below
- Swipe left to select the Lens you want to use
- Follow any action prompts that appear, like ‘Raise Your Eyebrows’
- Tap the capture button to take a Snap, or press and hold on the capture button to record a video
You are now a graduate of the Snapchat basics school, go forth, send some snaps, and make mischief.