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Snapchat 101 for dummies – A crash course


It is 2016 and you do not know how to use Snapchat. You have the app installed on your phone and you log in once in a blue moon to see if the Snapchat fairy will bestow upon you the abilities to use the application but that does not happen. So you log out, silently resenting all those posting picture of themselves with Snapchat filters. And now that Snapchat has introduced geofilters for Lagos you feel like a dummy and you hate everyone, including yourself because you cannot join in on the fun.

Not to worry, some help is on the way. First things first, update your Snapchat app, get the latest version possible. It goes without saying that Snapchat is a “rich people app” so your phone has to be in the Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy s6, s7 range. If you use a lesser device, no qualms, don’t cry, read on, but you are not likely to get the very best in terms of user experience – but you could still try.

Now that you have updated your app, let the fun – or the semblance of it – begin.

Because Snapchat keeps updating their app and we do not want this article to become stale before it gets to you we would stick to the basics that have remained unchanged over time hoping that you would be able to figure the rest out as soon as you are comfortable using the app.

Lesson One – Introduction to Snapchat


The first screen you see is your camera screen, by default it shows you images from your front camera. Why? Because that was the basic idea, to enable you snap and chat – Snapchat duh? So you take a picture of yourself and you type a message on it or maybe send just the picture if you like. You can switch to the back camera if you want using the icon on the top right corner.


On the top of the screen, right in the middle is an avatar which is not just an avatar, it is your ghost and it is unique in the way the dots are arranged. No two avatars are the same and friends can add you by pointing their camera at it and tapping on their screen. Tap it and it shows your brief details; your unique bar code with which people can add you, your Snapchat name also with which you others can search for you and add you, your age, if you set it to display.

Adding friends

A smiley face icon with the words “added me”, tap that and you will be taken to a list of all those who have added you and you can add them back too by clicking on the plus icon to the right of their names.

Below that is an address book icon with “My Friends” written in front of it, click on that and you will be taken to another page with two tabs; Friends and Contacts.

Friends and Contacts

Friends are for those who have added you and you have added them while contacts would search your phone book for people who have Snapchat installed so you can choose those you want to send invites to. It also allows you to invite others who do not have Snapchat already installed to download and install Snapchat and come party with you.

And with that we have come to the end of lesson one of Snapchat 101.

Lesson Two – Chats


The small square icon to the bottom left of the camera screen, that takes you to the Snapchat page, on this page you see you can start a chat by tapping the icon on the top right corner and selecting a contact to chat with from you friend list. It then shows you a chat page where you can type messages and send or you can snap images, type on them if you want and send to the recipient

Replying messages; there are two ways of replying messages; For ordinary chats you swipe right to reveal the chat page, while for Snapchats i.e chats with images or videos, you need to double tap if you want to reply with a Snapchat  that is with an image or a video or simply swipe right to send an ordinary message.

Snapchat LekkiLesson Three – Filters

The big button in the bottom centre is the snap button, you tap it and it take a picture depending on which camera is set active. After taking a picture you can then proceed to perform all the Snapchat magic you see on twitter and other social networks. I will leave you to discover the wonders that you can perform on your pictures

And how do you take videos? Easy, use the camera button, but this time, instead of tapping it, you tap and hold it for the whole length of the video. Maximum duration is set at 60 seconds. Again you can perform magic on your videos with the icons on the page you see after recording.

That leaves us with the two icons on the bottom to the left and to the right of the snap button. Let us start with the one on the right, the one that looks like a hamburger.

Tapping that button take you to a page where you can find all the snaps that have been sent to you by friends on your contact list. You can also swipe left to access this screen. To view them you tap and hold for as long as you want to view. The video stops playing as soon as you remove your hand.

There is a circular icon at the top right that take you to a discover page where you can find interesting content from selected content providers. You can also swipe left to access this screen.

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