Two years ago, it was love at first download with the one-of-a-kind disappearing image app, Snapchat. But after hearing about things like Snapcodes or Geofilters, I ended up looking like grandma with her first cell phone. The app is so different from all others on the market that I soon found myself needing an instruction manual. Now after spending countless hours on the app, procrastinating my homework and hundreds of embarrassing selfies to show for it, I have become a veteran Snapchatter who is here to share with you a Snapchat Survival Guide, which includes a few secret tips and tricks.
*WARNING: choose your username wisely because it cannot be changed. I’ve built quite the Snapchat empire but still cringe when saying my username aloud. (You try it: @ramseydon22. See what I mean?)
Getting Started: The cute little ghost on your home screen is your go-to guy for account/setting-type things. There you can access your trophy case (trophies are achieved by doing things like sending over 100 snaps), manage your account, view your personal Snapcode, see the users attempting to add you, add friends and view your fellow snappers.
—Side Note: Snapcode is a unique scannable image that is specific to each user and can be used to add friends. Just point your snapchat camera at a snapcode and tap! Mine looks like this (add me! it’s just for practice, I swear):
Sending Snaps: Take your time sending embarrassing selfies to friends; one wrong tap and your crush will see more chins than you want them too.
Once you find the perfect angle, capture the picture and add a caption, doodles, emojis, and filters (swipe right on your picture). Then you can change the amount of seconds people can view your snap, save it to your camera roll, add your pics/vids to your story, and send it to the friends lucky enough to view your masterpiece.
A quick swipe to the right on your home screen allows you to see the chats you have with your friends. Tap to view an incoming snapchat, double tap to reply, and even swipe left on a friends name to chat with them.
Viewing Stories: Swipe to the left on your homepage and you can click on the Discover icons (this is where companies like ESPN and Buzzfeed upload content for your viewing pleasure), see live footage from current events happening around the world and view your friends’ stories, which are a collection of pictures and videos snappers choose to let others see for 24 hours.
Snapchat Secrets: Over time I have come across some tricks that make Snapchat a little bit cooler, here are my favorites:
- Extra doodle colors: after clicking on the pencil when creating your masterpiece, hold your finger down on the color line and drag it off onto your picture. Without lifting your finger, you can move it around and watch your little pencil icon change to colors like black and white which aren’t on the pre-set color line.
- Switching between cameras/zooming: if you video your friend tripping down the stairs, chances are your reaction will be just as funny as your friend falling. So, to make the most of your snaps, when videoing, double tap the screen to switch back and forth from the front-facing and back-facing cameras. You can also shoot some creepy zoomed-in footage as well by dragging your finger up on the screen.
- Using two filters at once: want to make yourself look cute in black and white, but show your friend the cool geofilter (which are the cool little graphics that change depending on your location) that the University of Oklahoma has? I’ve got you covered. After swiping right and choosing which color filter you want, use one hand and leave your finger pressed down on the screen and then use another to swipe right. You can mix the color filters with the time, speed, and current temperature tags or available geofilters.
- Celebrity Snappers: if you are as obsessed with pop culture as I am, keeping up-to-date on your favorite celebs is a must. Although you can’t search for people by name, some actors/actresses and musicians have shared their usernames to people slyly on Twitter and in interviews. Some of my favorite famous snappers are Pretty Little Liar’s stars Shay Mitchell (@officialshaym) & Ashley Benson (@benzo33), girl group Fifth Harmony members Dinah Jane (@dinahdime) & Ally Brooke (@itsmeallyb), vocal goddess Tori Kelly (@koritelly), vocal god Ed Sheeran (@teddysdaytoday), my childhood hero Josh Peck (@joshuapeck) and the University of Oklahoma’s coolest intern Ramsey Phelps (@ramseydon22).