I’m not supposed to like Snapchat. I’m absolutely the wrong demographic.
Snapchat’s supposed to be something that only Millennials “get.” I’m GenX. (I remember a time when the internet wasn’t invented, for crying out loud.)
And yet here I am. Obsessed.
I’m all in, with three — yes, THREE — different accounts: personal, blog and one for my job.
I’ve become quite addicted.
And I’m here to tell you why you should finally give Snapchat a try.
Stick with me…
Breaking it down for the newbies
Snapchat is an app you download on your smart phone. It allows you to take pictures and videos (10 seconds or less) and send them directly to people or add them to your “My Story” feed where your friends, or other people who follow you, will see it. Once the viewer sees a snap from your story it’s gone (POOF!), and if you’ve sent it to them directly they can watch it over again — but, not indefinitely.
Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Usually it’s at this point of my Snapchat explanation where I lose interest from most of my friends.
“Why do we need another social outlet?” they ask. “Why is this even a thing? What’s the point? And why are my teenagers so obsessed with it?”
Because it’s 100% engaging and addictive as hell, that’s why. (Also, you can stalk your kids. Bonus!)
Oh, and this question, too: “Isn’t it for sharing inappropriate pictures?!?!” No. It’s not. Not by the majority of people anyway. Early on, Snapchat got that bad rap, and it’s changed significantly since then — with GenXers like me, Millenials, bloggers and big brands all using it daily for silly fun, or as part of their larger marketing tactics.
Don’t take my word for it. There are an estimated 150 million active users on Snapchat (more than Twitter) and it’s growing every day.
Why I Love It
You know how beautifully staged people’s Instagram feeds are? How amazingly produced their YouTube videos are?
Well, Snapchat isn’t like that.
It’s real. It’s raw. It’s unfiltered. It’s silly. It teaches you how to live and let go — while sharing your real life with your real friends.
I use Snapchat in a few different ways. I send ridiculous things to friends: Me as a cat. Or Marilyn Monroe. Or a freaking tomato. It basically depends on the day and the available lenses.
I also stalk the lives of people I know (friends, family, co-workers), and other bloggers, celebrities, brands and events.
It’s like my own little reality TV channel.
The best thing about Snapchat is that it’s ephemeral. Everything’s posted in real-time and disappears after 24 hours, so if you miss it, it’s gone. You can’t “catch up” on your friends’ story feed. Cue addition.
How Real People Can Use It
I know, I know. We’re all comfy and happy with the social media we’ve come to know and love (Facebook, I’m looking at you). But you have to admit … things are changing out there on the social landscape.
How many times have you been tempted to dump your Facebook account due to political rants, passive aggressive posts, overwhelming promotion in your News Feed, or plain ole NOISE? If your end game for being on social is checking out what your friends and family are up to, then Snapchat is the place to do it.
By the way, the “Discover” screen on the app offers tons of variety when it comes to personal interests. Snapchat has CNN, Comedy Central, People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Vice, National Geographic, Daily Mail, IGN, Food Network and many more brands on there with fun content.
Some folks even claim this will become a new way to get real-time news. (I’m not one of those people but I can see why that prediction is floating around.)
A Few Caveats
Snapchat isn’t super user-friendly when you’re a newbie just hopping on board. You have to play around and figure it out a bit. This is where most people lose their patience. Just stick with it for a few weeks, experiment, and you’ll get the hang of it.
Or you can just reach out to me and I’ll give you a quick lesson. (I’m not kidding!)
The good news? Your bad experimentation will disappear quickly!
Feedback on your snaps is limited to views and replies by friends and people who stalk your story feed. You aren’t able to like, publicly comment, or share something to other social networks. You can re-view a private message post or take a picture of the screen to “save” another person’s snap, but know that the person who created it will get a notification. (Creepy!)
Also, finding people to follow and interact with takes some time and effort since there isn’t a “search” option for finding others. Though, as more and more “real people” hop on board it’s getting easier.
Some interesting folks to follow:
Username: jennifergerlock (That’s me!) Follow me online as we navigate the daily mess of our lives. I promised to keep the cat snaps to a minimum.
Username: pursuitofitall Yes, indeedy! This blog now has an account. We’re four distinct ladies with various passions and we love sharing. (Like, really, really love it.)
Username: amusingfoodie Yep – Liza’s there, too — silly stuff mixed with foodie stuff.
Into celebrities? Snapchat has an entire directory of celebrities sharing their lives with fans. Find the listing here. (Yes there are Kardashians snapping. Of course.)
You can also find your favorite magazines online. I personally follow Capitol File Magazine (username: capitolfile), Cosmo (username: cosmomag), Marie Claire (username: marieclaire) and Redbook (username: redbookmag).
Are you on the Snapchat bandwagon yet? Are you willing to give Snapchat a try? Leave your username in the comments and we’ll all feed our addictions together!
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