How does Snapchat work and what is its meaning?

Snapchat has changed a lot in the last few years. Frequent updates mean that the app looks and works almost nothing like it originally did.

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, is very aggressive with changes to the app that it can be hard to keep up with how Snapchat really works, even if you're a regular user. To make things easier for you and the newbies, Tasty has put together this guide. In the end, you will know every aspect of the application. And when the next update arrives, be sure to check back here for details.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It is led by founder Evan Spiegel. One of the app's core concepts is that any picture or video or message - by default - is provided to the recipient for a short time before it becomes unavailable. This temporary, or ephemeral, nature app has been designed to encourage a more natural flow of interaction.

One last thing: the developer of Snapchat is a public company called snap. He claims to be a camera company. As such, it creates other merchandise including hardware like Snapchat glasses. Also, Snapchat is colloquially referred to as Snap.

What is the point of Snapchat?

Snapchat was originally focused on personal, face-to-face photo sharing, but you can now use it for a variety of tasks, including sending short videos, video chatting, messaging, creating a caricature-like smiley avatar, and sharing a chronological “story” that aired on all your followers. There is even a "Discovery" nook that showcases short videos from major publishers such as BuzzFeed.

Snapchat even allows you to store media in a separate storage area. Other features include the ability to add filters and AR based snap lenses and show your live location on a world map. But the main thing to understand about Snapchat is that it's all about instant messaging through your mobile phone. Before Snapchat, social networking was very desktop and all data accumulation.

For example, you would post statuses, tweets, photos and videos, and you would have records of all those things online so that your friends could comment on them and you would all see them forever. Snapchat has already changed. It has changed the way we communicate online. With Snapchat, you can quickly send a photo with a rainbow-puke AR lens applied to a friend, and once they open, it will disappear forever.

Technically, they can screenshot if they want and reply with their own photo or video reply, which they can broadcast their story for friends and followers to see. There are so many uses for this app. It's hard not to see its value and why it's unique.

What does all the jargon mean?

Many reports and studies state that the bulk of these users are young people. As a result of these young users, the app has given a number of different unique terms and names to its features, from “snaps” to “stories”. If all this jargon confuses you, you should really read the vocabulary of this Snapchat guide before getting into how the app actually works.

  1. snapchatter: it's not that common, but it means users from Snapchat.
  2. Snap: when you take a photo or video, or receive a photo or video, this is called “snapping”. So when someone asks you to snap them, they ask you to send them a photo or video using Snapchat, or even a message through the app's chat feature. The Snapchat app itself is colloquially referred to as "Snap" as an app developer/public company.
  3. Cap: the term was more popular when Snapchat launched, but it has faded since then. However, if you've heard this, just know what it means to simply answer the question. So if you get a snapback, you're just responding to your own one-on-one click that you've received.
  4. History: You can link buttons together and broadcast them as you capture them. They appear to their followers as a "story" reel. They can click through your story and watch each snap to experience their entire day. The reel can only be played for 24 hours, after which it disappears forever, though you can always save all of your stories, or individual snaps from your story, to the memory section - aka private storage - of your Snapchat to keep forever.
  5. snapcode: Snapcode is a scannable code that makes adding new friends and even easier. For example, a friend can simply flash their Snapchat camera on a Snapcode, which will immediately add you without having to manually browse your pens and click on the “Add” button. Your Snapcode, which looks like a QR code, can be located on your profile screen. You can open it by clicking on the ghost icon or your emoji in the corner of the camera screen.
  6. Result: Ever noticed that next to a girlfriend's pens in Snapchat? This result is an equation, combining the number of pictures sent and received, the stories they posted, and other factors. You can find a friend's result when you hold down on a friend's name in your contacts, food history, or chat. And you can find yours under your Snapcode located in the center of your profile. The higher your score, the more you are likely to use Snapchat.
  7. Snapstreak: some of your friends or people you follow may have different emoticons next to their Snapchat names in the Snapchat chat section. This means they are on the brink, or Snapstreak, with you. In other words, you and a friend or friends lashed out at each other (not counting messaging, chatting) for 24 hours for more than one day in a row. For a complete list of what each Friend Emoji means, go to Settings > Manage > Friend Emoticons.
  8. Trophy: Snapchat can notify you of new titles you've earned and clicking that will help you get your trophy that holds all the trophies you've achieved in Snapchat users. From sending a snap with a filter to sending 50 shots with five or more pen colors, trophies encourage user interaction and content creation.
  9. Lenses You can make your shots even more fun by adding augmented reality based special effects and sounds using a feature called lenses. To activate the lenses, go to the camera screen in Snapchat, then long-press on your camera face, and the lenses should appear in the row next to the capture button. Swipe around to select the lens you want and then press the shutter button to take a snap with it. Popular lenses include 'Rainbow Puke' and 'Dog With Tongue'.
  10. 3D world of lenses: unlike lenses, which are primarily applied to your face - or a selfie taken in real time, the world of lenses affects the environment around you. They appear in a row, like lenses, but only when the camera is facing out. You can see the one that shows your smiley avatar, even. For example, there is a current one showing our smiley avatar mixing potions and chemicals while sitting at a table. This animation is overlaid on the world around us and can be captured and then shared with our chat friends or followers through our story. Both Lenses and World Lenses frequently change artist on Snapchat, although popular ones are repeated.
  11. Filter: You can spice up your snap by adding fun with a filter overlay. After you take a photo, swipe right or left on the preview screen to add color filters, current time, local weather, overlay speed, or geofilters to your photo or video. After taking a snap and applying the first filter, you can press and hold and then swipe to add another filter too.
  12. Geopoints: like filters, you can use geopoints to beautify your pictures. Unlike filters, however, geofilters are specific to your location or the event you'll be attending. They encourage other users to share their experiences with friends and followers. Upon request, geofilters can also be developed and purchased by individuals or small companies and become available only when the user enters a specific location, such as a wedding or school location.
  13. Chat: is a Snapchat messaging feature that allows you to communicate directly with other users. You can access the chat section by swiping from left to right on the camera screen. From here, you can also send emoji stickers, start a video call, send money, share snaps, and more.
  14. Memories: Since its launch, this plugin has added several features that will allow you to take a screenshot or save snapshots. The last example is memories. Not only does this give you another way to store snaps in the Snapchat cloud, it also includes a section for accessing media stored locally on your device. When you pick up a snap, you'll see an option to save it to memory (it's like a separate storage locker) where you can organize, edit, search, lock, and share the snap after the fact.
  15. Discover: this is the section to the right of the camera screen, dedicated to brands and publishers who can broadcast stories for everyone to see. On discover, you can find branded content Vice, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN Sports Complex, Tastemade, like CNN, Buzzfeed and more.
  16. Link card: With this feature, you can share your location with your friends or followers. It also allows you to scroll through the real map to see where your friends are. You can choose whether to share your location, of course. To open the snap map, go to the camera screen, then pinch your fingers on the screen as you move away from the photo, and the map snap should appear. You and friends will present an emoticon.
  17. Smiley: if you've downloaded the emoji app, created an avatar, and linked your Snapchat account, you'll see lens-based AP from your avatar, as well as stickers in chat with your avatar. You can also see "friendmoji" stickers in the chat that include both you and a friend. Like other features, the emoji are designed to encourage user interaction on Snapchat. Keep in mind that the emoji had its own separate platform until Snapchat acquired it a couple of years ago.
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How does Snapchat work?

That's where this app gets really tricky. Snapchat updates so frequently that it's a waste of time to write lengthy step-by-step instructions on how apps work, how Snapchat can look and work completely different in a few days, so we'll instead focus on interesting, key features and things how they work on a general basis, but more importantly, you will see on the screen when you go to Snapchat.

If you need more details on how to bypass the app or do specific things, we recommend you visit Snapchat's support hub.

Camera Screen

  • Press the Record button to take a snap, or press and hold it to record video snaps for up to 10 seconds. If you hold it, it will record with multiple buttons.
  • Once you take a picture, you can use all kinds of creative tools. For example, select the pencil tool to draw more and more, click the text tool to add a caption, select the sticker tool to add a sticker or emoji, and so on.

From the moment you open the Snapchat app, you will see that your device's camera can be seen. This is the camera screen.

Now, how it looks and what options it shows can change over time, but generally you'll see a shutter button at the bottom, with buttons to access your memory, chat screen, and history screen. At the top, you can also see options to open your profile screen, search screen, and can even turn on the flash or switch the camera view to the front. In any case, first of all, from this screen, you can take pictures.

To do this, press and hold the capture button for a photo or video, respectively, and then you'll see options to save it to your memory/camera roll, add it to your story, or send it to a friend or group of friends. But before you share it with anyone, be sure to decorate it with a snap with text, doodle, sticker, link, etc. You can even customize it to watch from a few seconds to unlimited.

Also, remember when after shooting, if you click on the picture, you will see the lens and the lens of the world appear. Swipe through them and tap one to apply it. From there, you can decorate the snap and share it with others.

Snap map screen

  • Only the people you choose can see your location, or you can even turn on ghost mode when you want to navigate off the grid.
  • Your location on the map snap only updates when you have Snapchat open.

When you open Snapchat and face the camera screen, pinch inwards to sort of zoom in to see a snap map. Then you will see your emoji Avatar, if your emoji account is linked, on a live map. Press the Options button if you want to enter “ghost mode” and become invisible. In any case, any user you follow who doesn't have ghost mode enabled will be shown on the map so you can see their exact location in real time.

Snapchat can also serve stories by users from all over the globe, so you can quickly connect and see what's going on elsewhere, like Father John Misty in Los Angeles.

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Memory Screen

  • On the Memories screen, you can create new scenes, edit and send pictures you've saved as a memento, and use smart search to find old pictures.
  • To open memories, simply swipe up on the camera screen or tap the circle/cards under the capture button.

Next to the capture button, you should see an icon that looks like a card or a circle. Tap it to open your memories, an area in Snapchat, where you can not only store Snapchat snaps, but also access media stored locally on your device. You can search memories, share memories, mark memories, and more. On the memory screen, you can also access your profile, capture a snap, and go to chat and story screens.

Chat screen

  • When you are chatting one-on-one with someone, a blue dot will appear at the bottom of the chat screen, which means they are present in the chat. If they created an emoji, their emoji will appear instead.
  • When you're chatting in a group chat, a Snapchatter name will glow inside a bubble above your keyboard. This lets you know that they are present. Just click on the name bubble to chat one-on-one with Snapchatter. Or, to see who's been reading a chat, just click on it.
  • Chats are deleted by default after both of you have left the chat.

When you open Snapchat and face the camera screen, tap the Chat button in the corner or swipe from left to right to open the chat window. From there, you can start a new chat, search chats, see all active chats, and even go to your profile screen, capture a snap, quickly switch to stories, and more. Again, these parameters may change over time.

So, the point of this section is to share one on one or in a group with friends. You can start a conversation or click on an existing topic to message, send instantly, send money, start a live video chat, send a sticker emoji, and more. You can also long-press on friends' names to see their Snapcode, Snapstreak, and other opportunities to interact with them on Snapchat. To change a friend's name, or block or delete them altogether, click on their conversation, then click on the hamburger (menu icon) and you'll see additional options for managing that friendship.

Open the screen

  • Stay up to date with the latest news with Dating! Stories publishers watch and shows. Use dating: swipe from right to left on the camera screen to open open. Click on a story that sparks your interest
  • Tap on the right side of the screen to go to the next snapshot in this story, or tap on the left side of the screen to go back and review the latest snaps. You can also swipe down to leave history.

Swipe from right to left on the story screen to open a section that showcases branded stories from publishers like the Daily Mail and MTV. You have no control over what type of content comes to you, but you can subscribe to specific publishers by long-pressing the picture for a publisher's story and clicking the "Subscribe" button. To view a story from a publisher, tap the thumbnail for their story.

Like other stories, you can skip to the end, and while browsing, you can long-press on any snap to mark it and then send it to a friend or group of friends. You can do it on photos and videos.

Stories

  • To post a snapshot to your story, grab a snap, then click the arrow at the bottom of the screen to add a snapshot to your story (and if this is your first time creating a story, click "Add" to confirm you want to post your story).
  • Go to the opening screen to view your friends history.

When you open Snapchat and are faced with the camera screen, swipe from right to left to access the discover screen. From there, you can view all your friends' broadcasted snapshots in a drum that plays for 24 hours. A friend's latest updates at the top, followed by 'publisher history' at the bottom. Just click on a friend's name to start browsing their story, then click on individual clicks inside the drum itself to skip ahead

You can also swipe from the history snap to send a message to that person. Either way, on the screen, you can see options to add to your history, search history, find friends, quickly add suggested contacts, open your profile and audience settings, grab a snap, and return to chat. Snapchat also highlights content to discover on this screen.

Search Screen

  • Search is the fastest way to find friends, groups and more. Just click on the magnifying glass icon at the top of the screen to start your search.
  • Type in something you're trying to find, or browse suggested friends and topics.

When you open Snapchat and are faced with the camera screen, click the Search button at the top. Here you can search for other users by their Snapchat name. Verified users will have emoticons appear next to their name. The search screen that pops up also suggests user reviews will show you top stories, and let you browse other users and their stories by criteria such as music, sports, fashion, and animals.

Profile Screen

  • There are several different ways to add other Snapchatters. Here's the easiest way: From the screen, camera, swipe down or tap on the emoji in the top left corner of the screen. This will take you to the profile screen where you will see options to find and add friends.
  • Also, from your profile, you can create a Snapcode. With Snapcode, friends and followers can visit a link just by viewing it on Snapchat.

From most screens in Snapchat, you'll see a ghost button or your emoji avatar in the corner.

Tap it to open your profile, where you'll find your Snapcode, Snapstreak, and options to view your trophies, who's added you, your friends, and add new friends. You can also grab new snaps from accessing chats and stories, and even find advanced settings or Snapchat searches, although these settings may change over time.

Screen Settings

  • Change privacy settings, snap location map settings, birth settings, memory settings, Snapcash options and settings.
  • Just click on the gear icon in the right corner of your profile screen.

When you see the gear icon on your profile screen, click on it to open your Snapchat Account Settings, where you can link your emoji account, manage on-demand geofilters, create or scan a Snapcode, add two factors, adjust your memories, spectacles, and Shazam preferences, change your password and phone number, and more.

What do chat icons do?

When you look at the chat screen, you may see a different arrow or icon next to each conversation. It means different things:

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