Back to the Basics with Snapchat

I have been using Snapchat for sometime as a personal social media tool. Prior to taking this class, I often signed up for the latest social media platform without giving it a second thought, which is what I also did with Snapchat (I know, not an informed digital citizen move — but after this class, I now know better!). But for my final project, I wanted to investigate this tool on a deeper level. So I decided to first head back to the basics:

As this Common Sense Media video describes, Snapchat is an app that allows people to share “disappearing” texts, photos or videos to others. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on the privacy policy and terms of use to hear more about the “disappearing” element of Snapchat. But, as I mentioned, this post is all about the basics…

For a brief history of Snapchat, visit this article which also includes a glossary of the snapchat elements. [If you are an elementary teacher like me, I like to think of ways to use popular media to teach reading strategies. With this article, you can talk about non-fiction text features (such as glossaries) and how they are used in text. Sorry for going teacher-nerd on you for a second!]

Snapchat was started by two Ivy league dropouts (there is an interesting phenomenon going on here!) named Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in 2011. While at times the app has been synonymous with provocative online behaviour, the app now hosts a wide variety of users who use it for a wide variety of purposes. While sharing photos and videos, the app allows users to get creative with filters, stickers, sound, time limits, colour, text, drawing and much more to make their production more interesting.

The second article I read this week called A Guide to Snapchat for People Who Don’t Get Snapchat is another useful place for users to begin. While this article is much more in-depth, it is also much less formal but worth checking out if you are very new to the app. This article doesn’t include information about the latest update of the app but is still useful for beginners.

Source – Snapchat’s tagline reads “the fastest way to share a moment”


My curiosities around this app stem from the fact that I while I have had the app downloaded on my phone for a long time, I mostly used it from a spectator perspective. This term I decided I wanted to explore the app from a user/creator perspective. I wanted to be able to explore why so many people are using the app and how it benefits them personally. I am also curious if Snapchat has a place in the classroom or not.

Currently, I only have my close family and friends as “friends” on the app. I don’t want to make this a public account because I find I am sharing more personal snaps (time with family and friends, pictures/videos of my dog, of course). One thing I have found interesting as I participate more in the creation of snaps is that in face-to-face conversations with family and friends, they often bring up what they have seen in my SnapStory. One example of this is that I signed my mom up for the app so she could follow what my husband and I did on our recent trip to Phoenix and Las Vegas. I also talked with her on the phone throughout the trip but having the instant access to photos and videos allowed for her to see and not just hear what we were doing.

I also enjoy the chat element of Snapchat which allows users to direct their messages, photos or videos at a certain person or group of people (much like a group chat — but with many more goodies such as stickers, filters and captions!). This is particularly useful, in a personal sense, to show one person or small group of people what you are doing. This is a busy part of the year for my husband at work and he enjoys receiving snaps of what is going on at home while he is away.

I am certainly enjoying the personal elements of the app Snapchat so far this term. I am curious how other classmates are finding this app (for those who are exploring it) and I enjoyed reading my classmate Sapna’s blog post about her journey so far. I am curious about the thoughts of my classmates on how they have or will use Snapchat in their classrooms and am particularly interested in the views of primary teachers.

That’s all for now! If you have been following tech news lately you will have noticed that Kylie Jenner has majorly influenced the Snapchat media scene. Stay tuned until next time!



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