I noticed a rash of my favorite bloggers lately started using an app called “Snapchat.” I had heard of it, of course. It seemed to be all the rage with the young-ins a while ago. I didn’t pay much attention to it because between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, I really felt like there wasn’t any more room left for time wasters in my life. Because at some point the kids get really whiny when I don’t feed them. So needy.
But then yet another mommy blogger confessed that she was now addicted to it, so I decided to check it out. Maybe I could just buy some of those automatic food dispensers for the kids and leave some Cheerios and water in it.
I know all the young, hip kids reading this post are going to roll their eyes at me (because young hip kids are my usual demographic for this blog), but I kind of love it! It is unassuming, it offers quick glimpses into the ordinary lives of my fellow moms and friends, and the pressure of pandering for likes and followers is nonexistent. It is spontaneous, so you get to see people’s “stories” in their most raw and honest forms. No taking 20 billion pictures with a fancy camera, editing the heck out of it, and then finally placing it on social media wiped clean of all the imperfections that makes life humorous and relatable. It is so refreshing. Not to mention, being the only adult in a sea of babies and young children all day can feel so isolating sometimes, and it brightens my day to see glimpses of my fellow moms doing the same thing I’m doing. Almost like we’re toiling away side by side, encouraging each other.
I am going to try and simplify Snapchat for you so that you don’t have to feel like you are wasting time trying to figure out an app that you might not even use. Because we need that extra time for going to the bathroom. Or sleeping.
I am not going to walk you through signing up for the app, as that is pretty self explanatory. After you sign up, there are pretty much four main screens:
1. The Camera Screen
This is the default screen that shows up when you open the app. The grey circle at the bottom takes a picture or a video. If you want to take a picture, you tap it. If you want to take a video, you hold it down. If you don’t like the picture or video you just took, you can click the “X” on the top left and try again. You hit the camera icon on the top right to make the camera face out or face in (like on your camera phone), and the top left is flash or no flash. You still with me? Alrighty then. On to the next. So you take your pic or video.
Alright, then. In order to add a caption to this photo/video, you simply tap in the middle of the screen and start typing. You can do different things to the font in the top right, but don’t get stressed out by that. Stay with me now. You see that pencil on the top right? I will compare it to something that only old fogies like us will remember and recognize. Think Microsoft Paint. Except with your finger instead of those things that also only old fogies like us will remember called cursors manipulated by that ancient tool called a mouse. Good times. Anyway, you can doodle to your heart’s content all over the picture, if you so desire. The “T” in the top right customizes your caption, and the thing that looks like a post-it pad up top adds an emoji. The little circle with the number 3 in it on the bottom left controls the amount of time your viewer will be looking at this picture, and the arrow with the line beneath it next to that saves the picture/video to your camera roll.
Now, I will address the square with the plus sign in it at the bottom. This saves the pciture/video to your “Story.” Your Story is what you share with all the people you follow (or everyone who follows you, depending on your privacy settings). It combines all of your pictures/videos (hereafter referred to as “snaps”) into one long narrative. This narrative lasts for 24 hours on your followers’ screens and then disappears forever. The grey arrow on the bottom right sends the snap directly to a person. It is Snapchat’s version of the DM. The person you send it to can only view it a couple times and then it too disappears.
2. The Stories Screen
To get to this screen, you simply swipe left from the camera screen. It shows your Story up top, some random but cool ones in the middle (like from cities like Madrid or Buenos Aires, or from colleges across the country, etc.), and the Stories of the people you are following at the bottom. If your camera screen has a little number showing in the bottom right, that means some of the people you are following have updated their stories. You can re-watch you own Story and see who has seen your snaps by tapping the arrow at the bottom. You can also see who has taken a screen shot of your snap (it looks like two arrows intersecting and has a number beneath it). Not sure why you would want to know whether someone is taking a screen shot of your snap, but there it is. Don’t go posting compromising pictures and expecting no one to ever see them again after 24 hours, moms! (I kid).
3. The DM Screen
If your camera screen has a little number on it in the bottom left, that means you have a DM. To get to all of your DMs or send a DM, swipe right from the camera screen. Swipe right on one of the names listed to send a DM snap, and if the camera icon by your message turns blue, then you can actually chat with them in real time! Or so I have heard, I have never been able to put this into practice.
4. The Ghost Screen
If you tap the ghost icon on the top of the camera screen, it shows who has added you to follow, and you can use it to add people that you would like to follow. But you can’t see how many people total follow you are how many followers other people have.
Well, there you have it. Just like in our days when we whined that Facebook was not cool any more because they are letting everyone use it and Grandma has an account, today’s young whippersnappers are going to have to leave Snapchat because old people like us are using it now. What goes around comes around.
Any Snapchat tips I missed? Oh, and if you care to follow along the Bass girls’ crazy daily adventures, my handle is: sylcell