Apps

Snapchat – what is it, how does it work, and why might you like it?

snapchat-feature

By this point, you may very well have heard of an app called Snapchat. It’s a little app that came more or less out of nowhere, and has gone on to see millions of messages being sent between users, along with rumours that the company’s worth billions of dollars.

So, it seems like Snapchat is one of the modern world’s success stories, but what is Snapchat, how does it actually work, and why do so many users rave about it (and, of course, there’s the other question: should you sign up to use it)?

snapchat

Snapchat lets you easily talk with friends and view Live Stories from around the world.

What makes Snapchat unique?

In the simplest terms, Snapchat is a messaging app for Android (so, for phones like the new LG G5) and iOS (for phones such as the iPhone 6S), but that fact alone doesn’t explain why it’s become so wildly popular; if that was all there was to the app, it wouldn’t have much of an advantage over things like Skype. What makes it unique is that the messages (which the app calls “Snaps”) are temporary; they effectively self-destruct after the recipient has viewed them, and you can set a time limit for them being viewable, ranging from 1 to 10 seconds.

And then, once they’re gone, they’re properly gone, forever.

This is a pretty unique way to go about things, as you can see, and it raises the next important question…

Snapchat Pink Logo

Snapchat is a photo-sharing service with one key distinguishing feature: the photos you send disappear.

Why do people use Snapchat?

At this point, pretty much every commentator will have an urge to say that the point of Snapchat is to send messages that are, in internet-speak, NSFW (i.e. not safe for work). It’s easy to see why that might be the case’ self-destructing messages is a brilliant way to send something that you might not want the public to see, as it were, with the self-destruct feature being a built-in way to stop whatever you send ending up out there (which is a legitimate security/privacy concern in this day and age).

What may be surprising, though, is that according to researchers’ studies into how people use Snapchat, that’s not what it’s mostly used for. It is undoubtedly used for that, but most users answered that Snapchat is fun, and that the reason they use it is the ease of sending funny content, or trolling their friends.

Combine that with the app being completely free, and you have a winning combination!

And so, Snapchat has become incredibly popular in the relatively short time it’s been available. It might not be to everyone’s tastes, of course, but it’s a powerful little app, and that self-destruct feature may well be important for people who have concerns about security or privacy. Snapchat is available on Android and iOS, so check it out, today, and see what you think!

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