Snapchat in 2020: An Introduction for Beginners

In 2020, Snapchat isn’t quite what it used to be.

A lot has changed for the app over the last few years, with much of the app looking and functioning quite differently to the original.  

Snapchat exploded in popularity following its release back in 2011. Since then, the app has grown to over 249 million daily active users worldwide. 

While Snapchat was originally about secure, person-to-person communication, the app now has a host of other features to help people connect and embrace their creative side. Whether you want to live chat with friends, send text messages, create videos, or even create avatars, Snapchat has you covered. 

What is Snapchat? 

When Snapchat first arrived on our smartphones, it was a lot like that scene in Mission Impossible. You know the one: Tom Cruise receives a message, and the message proceeds to self-destruct shortly after. While nothing actually explodes, that’s essentially how Snapchat works. Users can send images, videos, and messages that only remain visible for a short period of time. In 2020, however, Snapchat has evolved into much more than that.   

Getting started on Snapchat

Like any app, the first step in getting started is to download the app and make an account. When you create an account, Snap chat will guide you through everything and ask you a couple questions along the way. You’ll need to accept the terms and conditions, create a username, make a password, verify your phone number, and then find your friends. If you’d like Snapchat to find friends for you, simply allow the app access to your contact list.   

Understanding the Chat Screen

Once you’ve signed up and connected with some friends, swipe right from the camera to enter your Chat Screen. The Chat Screen is where you’ll find all of your friends’ Snaps, Stories, and all of your Chats in one place.  

For a full rundown of how to navigate the Snapchat app, head here.

How to create a Snap

If you’re familiar with Instagram Stories or TikTok, getting started on Snapchat should be a relatively straightforward process. 

Here are the basic of how to create a Snap: 

  1. To take a photo, simply tap the camera button (the circle at the bottom centre)
  2. To take a video, press and hold the camera button
  3. Tap the refresh symbol or double tap your screen to switch between your rear and selfie camera
  4. To disable flash, tap the lighting symbol

If you want to create a video longer than 10 seconds in length, you’ll need to do what’s called a Long Snap. To record a Long Snap, press and hold the camera button, and simply keep holding to create your Long Snap. 

When you’ve finished capturing your Long Snap, you will see it at the bottom of your camera screen. There are a bunch of filters and creative tools at your disposal to help bring your Snap to life. 

Use different Camera Modes

Snapchat offers a host of different Camera Modes, so you can find fun and interesting ways to take a snap.

The Camera Modes offered on Snapchat are: 

Camera Modes include:

  • Focus Mode – a depth-of-field effect that focuses on a face. 
  • Timer – time your perfect Snap.
  • Grid – nail your alignment with a simple grid. 
  • Multi Snap – take multiple Snaps at the same time and edit them to find your favourite. 
  • 3D – take a 3D selfie and add 3D effects. Move your phone to change the perspective!

Note: 3D is only available on some iOS devices. 

That covers the basics of what Snapchat has to offer. Like all social media apps, however, there’s so much more to explore after you find your feet. Download the app, make an account, and start playing around with what Snapchat has to offer. 

Want to learn more about Snapchat? Visit our Snapchat Resources page.

Snapchat in 2020: An Introduction for Beginners