Why I'm Using Snapchat & Loving It

The Importance of Snapchat Shannon Sorensen Photography

This is a shorter version of a post on my creative lifestyle blog, Dancing Lily Studio. I hope you enjoy it, and as with all of my blog posts, the opinions expressed here are solely my own. 

I don't usually post much about social media and how to use it, but I thought today I'd talk a bit about Snapchat and why it's quickly becoming one of my favorite social tools.

I joined Snapchat last summer with a group of fellow moms to share fun, quick snippets of our kids' days with each other. Then more friends and family joined, and guess what? It's become the main place where I share my day to day life. Here's why:

Around late January, we were planning a trip to Disney, Lily's first time there, and I knew I wanted to be able to share our trip with friends and family. I didn't, however, want to clog Facebook or Instagram with pictures and videos of the trip for five days straight. Especially with little things that happened throughout the day. I have a documentary heart and wanted to capture everything.

The Importance of Snapchat Shannon Sorensen Photography

Snapchat was the place to share all of that. I could take photos or 10 second videos throughout the day, add them to my Snapstory (more on that in a bit), and at the end of the day, I saved my story to my phone for backup and posted the whole video story to Facebook. Prior to the trip, I shared my username on Facebook and Instagram and invited friends and family to follow me if they wanted to watch my snaps during the day. I was surprised at how many people signed up!

So, if you're lost on how to use Snapchat or what the point of it even is, here's how it generally works:

1. Capture. You either take a picture (and choose the duration of the photo to appear for 1-10 seconds), or have up to 10 seconds to capture on video by holding down the camera button, to share with your friends/followers. 

2. Filters! Snapchat is constantly adding fun filters to use that do anything from change the coloring of your snap, to mark the time or geotag the place, weird face filters. You can also add text, emojis, or draw on your photo or video.

3. Do you want to save? You can choose to save your picture or video to your phone before sending it to friends by clicking the little button at the bottom.

4. Next you share. You choose exactly who sees each "snap". You hand pick who to send it to, allowing you to send a picture or video to one person, a small group of people, or everyone on your list. This allows your to, in a sense, have a private conversation through pictures and video. Something a bit more private might just go to Sean or my family or best friends, while other snaps can go to everyone. 

5. Life is short. A snap only lives for 24 hours on your story. Then it's gone. Whether you share a picture of your dinner or a quick video from a hike or hanging out at home or working or getting buzzed on boxed wine, even if it's not "pretty", it's only there for a limited time. If you send someone a snap directly, it's there until they view it, and then it disappears. They can view it one more time by holding down the snap, but you'll receive a notification that they've replayed it. It's meant to be brief. 

6. Put the CHAT in Snapchat. You can go back and forth with contacts having conversations through photo, video or text! You can also reply or comment on a snap sent to you, or one that you see on someone's story (but only if you are mutual followers), but once that comment is received, it also disappears.

7. Snap your story. You can add any snaps to your "Snap Story", which is public to anyone who follows you. You can download your story at any time to your phone, and any snaps on your story from the past 24 hours will save to a .mp4 video.

8. Keep in mind, lovers of landscape. All photos or videos are vertical layout, so if you save them, they may be oriented differently from what you intended.

This photo has been rotated from it's original awkwardly vertical orientation.

This photo has been rotated from it's original awkwardly vertical orientation.

So, what's so great about a social tool that's so brief and temporary? It's liberating! It more raw, more real, no pressure to create a curated gallery of your life that anyone can view indefinitely. It's an opportunity to share your day to day with your audience in a way that's more authentic, unedited, and a true glimpse into your life. The camera quality isn't amazing, the filters are just ok, so these are not going to be amazing visuals. You can share 2 snaps per day or 20 or none at all, and the next day, do something completely different. And there's no pressure to make it all personal or all business. You can use it however you wish, and start fresh each day. 

For now, I am enjoying sharing bits of my day. Since I work from home, and Lily is home with me when she's not at school, you may see me working on crafts/sewing, painting, Lil playing, funny or random pictures, cooking dinner, current editing work, on location for photography, our weekend adventures to Massachusetts...It's probably the most real representation of my life, if that is of any interest. 

Shannon Sorensen Photography_accent image

Are you on Snapchat? Do you like it? Do you think it's just another passing trend in social media? I'm always fascinated by how these platforms come and go and change. There have certainly been plenty that seemed like they'd become huge, but were basically over in a week (Google Wave, Ello, Periscope). Not to say they were a failure, they're still somewhat used, but there are definitely platforms that I think will remain more significant for the time being. 

If you'd like to follow me on Snapchat, my username is shannonsoren. Please keep it clean! lol