How to Use Snapchat’s New Instant Messaging and Video Features
Snapchat got a bit more useful today with the release of two new features: the ability to chat with your friends in real time via text, and video.
This is great news for power users. Anyone who spends enough time communicating with friends on the app knows that switching to another avenue for some good, old-fashioned texting is a chore. Say you send a snap to an old college roommate, and it sparks some nostalgic image-swapping. There’s no need to switch to iMessage to continue that conversation or to schedule a Skype date. The app allows for the kind of spontaneous conversation that feels natural, a point that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel drove home in an interview with The New York Times. “If I’m walking around and want to show you something, why do I have to switch apps?” he said. “It stops the conversation and makes it a transaction, rather than free-flowing.”
Yes, free-flowing conversation. That’s the sweet spot. But despite what Spiegel says, these tools are not exactly intuitive. Here’s a quick run-through of how to use them:
1. Make sure your Snapchat app is up to date and open it. If you have any snaps that you haven’t viewed yet, look at them. A friend of mine says she lost a few in the update. (RIP, snaps.)
You might have a message from Snapchat about the update, but that doesn’t mean you have the update itself! The feature is being rolled out slowly, so try to be patient. You’ll know if it’s available for you if, at the end of your promotional snap, it instructs you to Tap twice to upgrade. If you do, you’ll be brought to the App Store. Go ahead and get the updated app.
2. Once you’ve updated, visit your contacts. Anyone who has sent you a text has a blue chat bubble next to his name. To view the conversation, swipe right.