In the first part of this series, I offered an overview of the photo-sharing social media app Instagram, and shared ways you might find it useful. Now, I’ll take a look at another wildly popular app, Snapchat, which also lets you share photos but has a few really unique twists.
Full confession: when I first used Snapchat a few years ago, I didn’t get it at all. That came as no surprise—of its 50 million-plus daily users, nearly eighty percent are between the ages of 17 and 34. It’s a hip, anything-goes social media app that our kids and grandkids, fully vested owners of the fast-paced digital age, use for sharing quick, mostly irreverent details of their daily lives.
Lo and behold, the more I used it—and the more my younger nieces and nephews told me about it—the more I found myself enjoying it. And apparently I wasn’t alone: Snapchat’s base of users over age 35 grew by 84% last year! It turns out to be yet another great way to keep in touch with younger members of the family, and with those demographics changing, maybe even a few older ones, too.
So what is Snapchat, and why would you want to try it? Well, in a word, fun. It’s a photo and video-sharing app designed for creating and sending quick, entertaining images (photos or videos called “snaps”) as messages to friends or family. The images then disappear completely within one to ten seconds after a recipient looks at it.
It’s made for quick, good-natured communication. You can doctor up your photos with doodles, smiley faces, or a host of silly, ever-changing filters. My teenage nephews love to surprise me with snaps where they’ve added things like antlers or elaborate mustaches to their faces—and boy, do they get a kick out of having Aunt Susan send one back in return!
Using Snapchat is simple and fairly intuitive. After you’ve downloaded it to your smartphone (it’s available for both Android and iPhone) you take, edit, and send all your photos and videos right from the app. You simply swipe left or right across the screen to add filters, special effects, or a short caption, if you wish. Hit send, and your message is off.
You limit who can see your snaps by sending them to private screen names—so only a select group of friends share your spontaneous and silly moments. You also set how long the image stays available for viewing, and once that time is up, it disappears forever.
Snapchat is frivolous, dynamic, and very, very amusing. If you love to laugh, and make others do the same, you’ll quickly find it addictive. And boy, will the youngsters in your family be surprised when they find out you’ve jumped aboard! In fact, when they do, you can snap a photo of their surprised reaction—and share it on Snapchat!