What Is Snapchat? An Intro to the Popular Ephemeral App

Exploring the trendy social app that lets you chat with photos and videos

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Snapchat is both a messaging platform and a social network. It can’t be used from your desktop and exists only as a mobile app you can download to your iPhone or Android smartphone.

To make a long story kind of short, Snapchat is an app that truly changed reddit Just Cougars how people interact with friends compared to other popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Not everyone gets it-particularly older adults-but Snapchat is all the rage among even the youngest smartphone users, including teens and young adults.

Users can chat with their friends by sending them photos, short videos up to 10 seconds long. Think of it as texting through pictures or videos; text chats and video calls are two other features are a key part of the app.

Since there is so much to learn about this social media giant, we’ve compiled this article along with many others into a companion guide to help you use Snapchat in fun and safe ways.

To use this guide, open the links in the navigation pane. You’ll see it’s separated into seven different sections: Snapchat Basics, Sending & Deleting Snaps, Engaging With Other Users, About Snapchat Filters, Snapchat Account Management, Essential Snapchat Privacy Tips, and Snapchat Tips & Tricks. Inside each section are several articles filled with details for using this social media giant to connect with friends and loved ones.

How Snapchat is Different From Other Social Networks

One of the most unique things about Snapchat is the ephemeral components of all the content that gets shared on it. Photos and videos essentially disappear a few seconds after they’ve been viewed by their recipients.

Unlike other social networks, which keep your content online forever unless you decide to delete it, Snapchat’s disappearing content makes online interaction feel more human and a little more grounded in the present moment. There’s not as much anxiety about posting the perfect photo, wondering about how many likes or comments it might receive because it disappears within a few seconds and the only interaction you may receive back is a photo, video or chat reply.

Snapchat Stories

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Building on its massive success, Snapchat eventually gave users their own sort of news feed feature where they could post photos and videos that could be viewed by their friends as a story clip rather than as a private or group message. These clips – called stories – are posted for 24 hours only before they disappear.

Teen Snapchat Users & Sexting

The heaviest Snapchat users are teenagers and young adults who submerge themselves in social media and are pretty addicted to their smartphones. Because Snapchat photos self-destruct automatically, a big trend has emerged: sexting via Snapchat.

Kids are basically taking provocative photos of themselves and sending to their friends/boyfriends/girlfriends using Snapchat, and they feel more liberal about doing it because they know that those photos get deleted after a few seconds.

Saving Snapchat Screenshots

Snapchat messaging sure seems like it’s private when you’re only messaging one other friend, and the disappearing effect makes users feel a little more daring. Unfortunately, their controversial photos and videos can still end up somewhere on the web without their permission.

The general rule of Internet sharing goes something like this: if you put it on the web, it will be there forever – even if you delete it later. It’s reassuring to know that Snapchat content is automatically deleted soon after it’s been viewed, but there are still ways to capture that content and save it… forever.

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