Snapchat 101

Snapchat 101

Snapchat is an image-based social media platform that allows you to become the storyteller. The selling point of Snapchat is how pictures, commonly known as “snaps,” can only be seen for a limited amount of time. Afterwards, they are gone for good, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.

Engaging on Snapchat

Snapchat screen 1

Sending a Snapchat

  • Photo: To send a photo, press down the large circle in the bottom center of the screen once.
  • Video: Sending a video is similar to taking a photo. To do this, hold down the large circle on the screen. However long you hold down the button is how long your video will be. Release to stop recording the snap. 
  • Time limit: You can set how long you want your snap to appear. Snaps can be seen for an unlimited or limited amount of time, up to 10 seconds. Click the timer on the right of your snap to adjust the time.
  • Saving a Snapchat: Snapchat introduced “Memories” to allow users to save photos and videos you’ve added to your story. To save a snap, click the arrow pointing downward on either the main screen or in the menu on your story.

Direct Messaging on Snapchat

Snapchat Screen 2

Snapchat is not just about taking pictures, but it’s also about talking with your followers. Your Snapchat log is located on the far left screen. You can start a new conversation by clicking the speech bubble in the upper right-hand corner. If you want to immediately reply to a Snapchat you receive, slide left on that username to type a message.

Just like snaps, messages disappear as soon as they are read. To save them, hold down the message. 


Snapchat screen 3

Snapchat stories are a great way to share your snap to your followers. It is the screen on the right side.

  • After you take your snap, choose the “My Story” option for it to appear on your story.
  • By posting on your story, your snap will be seen by all followers for 24 hours.
  • If you want to see who has seen your snap story, go to the “story” page and tap the three dots next to “My Story.” You can see the stories you have posted within the 24-hour time frame.

ABCs of Snapchat

The basic functions and key terms to know when using Snapchat.

Adding Friends

By adding friends on Snapchat, it allows you to see other people’s stories and send snaps to them.

  • Username: To add someone, enter their username in the search box. Once their name pops up, click the “Add” button. It should turn purple to confirm you have added them.
  • Address Book: You can find friends through the contact book in your phone. By doing so, you are giving Snapchat the permission to access the names and phone numbers in your contacts. Once your contacts are transferred into Snapchat, you can add accordingly.
  • Snapcode: A snapcode is similar to a QR or barcode. Each user has their own personalized snapcode and can be seen by swiping down on the main screen. To add someone using snapcode, simply hold your camera over the code and take a picture. Their username should pop up with an option to add them. Snapcode can also be posted on social media and allow followers to add the account through the snapcode.

Snapchat snapcode

Add @seattleu on Snapchat

Designing Your Snaps

You have several options when it comes to designing and personalizing each snap you add to a story and/or send to a friend.

  • Adding text, stickers and drawings: This feature allows you to add some flair into your picture or video. To add text, click the “T” in the top left corner. If you are in a doodling mood, tap the pen and color located right next to the text option. There is an undo button in case you mess up your masterpiece. Finish off your art with some stickers that can also be found in the same menu. 
  • Applying special effects filters: Take your video to the next level by adding in special video filters after recording. Swipe right on the video to go through the different filters. Filters include reverse, speed up, slow down and super speed, along with other color options. 


Geofilters are location-based filters that can be added to your photo or video. To use these, first, make sure your locations services are turned on. After you take your picture or video, swipe from left to right to view the different geofilters that correspond to your location!

Seattle University has its own geofilters on-campus. Make sure to turn on your location service and swipe to see the different filters. If your official SU organization wants to create an event-specific geofilter, please contact Eli Voigt, for more information.

Collaborate with SeattleU!

Seattle University has an official Snapchat, @seattleu! If your campus department is interested in getting Snapchat coverage or having a geofilter designed for your campaign or event, please contact Matt Lipsen, for more information.