How to use Snapchat, and what I love about it


My response to every single new social media platform is the same: “UUUUUUUGGGGHHH!”

That prolonged grunt-like sigh is always followed up with, “Great, just one more thing for me to feel guilty about NOT being caught up on.” Or the protest, “I already put myself out there so much, people don’t need more of me.”

But as social media is kind of the name of my freaking game, I usually, reluctantly try it out. I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself to get really into it or excel. And my really trying something is usually prompted by my good friend Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked saying, “No, no this one is good you need to do it.” She kept saying how great Instagram was going to be and brought it up for a month before I joined. Look at her now. And I will admit, Instagram has by far been my greatest tool for connecting with people and growing my empire for world domination.

So I try to keep that in mind when she suggests something new, and then I figure if I get excited about it, well, it won’t be a chore and I’ll do it, if not, c’est la vie.

It took me honestly about 2-3 months to get interested in Snapchat. I just couldn’t quite GET what was fun about it. It felt, like I said, yet another obligation.

And then BOOM. It clicked. It was SUCH A PARTY. It felt the way Instagram did when I first got the hang of it. So freeing and such an amazing way to SAY what I wanted to say. And wow, I’m constantly surprised at how much I have to say.

Instagram now has lots of pressure and weight attached to it (no matter how hard you focus on not caring, numbers stare you in the face), but my new friend Snapchat?! There’s NOTHING holding me back. I post stuff and it doesn’t even feel like anyone will see it! Haha. I LOVE IT. I get the satisfaction of sharing something I’m excited about, without having to see how many people “like” it.

As I’ve started to really love Snapchat more and more I have of course been talking about it, and when I talk about it people ask me to show them how to use it. I launch into a full tutorial with gusto. I’m sure this seems stupid if you are under, oh 25 or so. But as a 31-year-old mom, even a pretty social media savvy one, I still had a hard time getting the hang of it. My 24-year-old brother had to walk me through it. Which is why I happily do it for others.

SO! For your viewing pleasure I have created this video:

How to use Snapchat if you have NO idea what you’re doing

It covers how to add friends, how to post to your story, what a story is, how to add images and text to your pictures, how to send direct messages, and just in general how to navigate the thing.

*A couple of things I didn’t cover in the video: that number by your username on the homepage (under your snapcode) is your “score.” You get points for posting snaps and people replying to your snaps. It’s like a completely useless number and means absolutely nothing to me.

**If you take a screenshot of someone else’s snap it will SHOW them that you took a screenshot. Alternately you can look and see how many people have taken a screenshot of your snap and up to a certain point see the names of who took it. So just know, if you start taking screenshots people will see. You look at this by clicking the video or picture of your snap in your story. There are overlapping arrows, if they are green, someone has taken a screenshot. This isn’t always bad or creepy! Haha when I reccomend a book lots of people take a screenshot.

***If you love an picture or video you take in Snapchat you can download it to your camera roll. It’s the underlined V (or download symbol) that appears on the screen where you are taking your Snap! I’ll often download a picture or video as a keepsake before I write on it.

****I cover this briefly, but to be extra clear, you can decide to NOT accept Snaps from people you do not follow personally. So right now, you can see my Snaps, but if I’m not following you, you cannot send me a direct Snap, or reply. I have it set like this personally because I’m super behind on emails, comments, and life, and couldn’t handle needing to respond to one more platform. But it’s a choice you get to make for your own profile!

BUT! I if you already know how to use Snapchat, or are like, I DON’T GET WHYYYYYY we are doing this, I figured I’d just share what I like about it, you know, because sharing is caring? Or because I just can’t help myself?


1. I feel like it’s this generations response to waking up and realizing everything we posted online could come back to haunt us.

I did NOT get what my blog REALLY was when I first start writing on it. I didn’t understand that the picture of my friend showering–fully clothed mind you–could come back to embarrass him later (he asked me to remove the post and I did, ha!) What he was cool with posting when he was 22 was different than when he was 30. He told me when people would search his name those silly images of him showering in his clothes popped up, and it was kind of hindering his job search. HAHA. But there was no way to really foresee how permanent things would and could be. Well not for me at least.

I never got into Facebook, for reals it still confuses me, but I remember when people started scrubbing their accounts because potential employers were checking them (before you could make things private). This seems OBVIOUS now, but when we all started posting on social media, we didn’t know that would be a THING. The creators of Snapchat are young, like 25. And I really feel like it’s the younger generations way of fixing one of the “problems” with social media.

I love Snapchat because I feel like it’s social media in it’s purest sense, just a quick, easy way to be social. It won’t live forever. You can use it just to connect, have fun and be engaged with other people and their experiences.

2. It’s NOT a popularity contest.

Is there any other social media platform that hasn’t turned into some sort of popularity contest? Even if you don’t DO social media professionally, I’m betting you notice how many followers you have compared to other people, or how many likes your posts get. You know high school kids notice. I think it would have SUCKED having IG in high school.

Maybe the numbers don’t ever ruffle your feathers. YOU are obviously well-balanced, mature, and healthy! I congratulate you. Come help me manage my life. But for the rest of us, the numbers can be a thorn in our fun-loving sides.

Yet on Snapchat I cannot see how many people are following me. I have NO idea what my numbers are. I LOVE IT. I (personally, only ME) can see how many views each image or video in my story gets. It’s not broadcast for others to see, and that number only stays up for 24 hours (because each image or video in your story only stays up for 24 hours). Other than my views, I have no idea how many total “followers” I have.

I have noticed that my views are growing, and this is fun and nice because, as you know the quest for my empire IS REAL. But it’s not like something that I care to chart statistically. Or that I notice going up or down with each thing that I post. The numbers and posts vanish, so I can’t scroll back in my feed (like on IG or FB) and analyze why some pictures got more likes or comments than others.

I can’t see how many people or views anyone else is getting, unless I ask them, and so, it kind of feels like everyone is on equal playing ground. We are all just sharing, not for the sake of numbers but for the sake of sharing exactly what we want to share.

3. It shows people’s personalities SUPER well.

You can’t record something for Snapchat in advance. You can’t save it for later. You can’t edit yourself to look thinner or cooler. Haha. You post it when you have it, and I feel like it REALLY shows a person’s personality. There’s something about being able to hear their voice, experience their laugh, right in the moment, that really helps you see what they are like. And I just think it’s fun! (Do I sound 60 when I keep saying things are fun?) Vine kind of does this, but I just didn’t get as into Vine. And I’m sure I’ll like Periscope eventually, but for now it feels like a lot of effort? Haha. Snapchat videos are just 10 seconds. I get to see what people are like in 10 second bursts.

4. It’s a fun way to share your kids.

As my children get older I’m more and more conservative about what I’ll share about them online. I don’t want to have them be annoyed with me later for going on and on about their bathroom habits. But with Snapchat I can share what they’re doing, have it not be PICTURE perfect, and also know that it will vanish before their 16th birthday. I have LOVED getting to see friends who live far away post about their kids. I love hearing their little voices and seeing their little attitudes. I also love that it’s fleeting because it doesn’t have to be SO monumental.


These are 100% totally my opinion. I don’t think you should think too hard about what you’re posting because then it’s not fun. But if you want a place to start…here you go.

1. Don’t think too hard abut it. HAHAHAHA. See I really mean that. If you think it’s interesting, well then I suggest you post it.

2. Put your content into context. It’s super cool if you want to post a 10-second video of the view from your hike. But just so you know, if you don’t talk in the video, write a comment on the video, or at least tell me where you are IN SOME WAY, it’s harder for me to feel engaged and or care, no matter how breathtaking the scenery is. This is a tip I have for better communication in general. Putting things into context is ALWAYS a good idea.

3. How much is too much? I seriously don’t know. I’ve heard people say only post 60 seconds a day to your story, and then I see some Youtube people post 300 seconds (total) in a 24 hour period. The nice thing is people can easily skip your content. BUT I also feel like if I start talking to the camera in 10 second bursts for a couple of minutes…that maybe those ideas would be better as a blog post or a Youtube video. Then again, I create blog posts and Youtube videos and maybe you don’t. So, put that in your “who cares” pipe and smoke it.

I asked this cute high school boy I bought my camera from about posting to his story vs. sending direct Snaps. He said he only posts to his story if it’s like “super epic.” But other than that he just sends direct Snaps. I asked how many seconds were too many to post in a day, and he said it depends on how famous you are. HAHAHA.

4. Series. I love series. Other people do too. Susan does this thing on her Freshly Picked Snapchat feed @freshlypicked1 where she says what’s new and happening in her office on Tuesdays. I occasionally Snapchat from my bed and call it “SNAPS FROM THE BOUDOIR” I don’t know if anyone likes it, but I do it!


I almost hate posting this because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I’ll just name a few people who I know are public who I think are fun, or who you might get ideas from. But I’m sure I’ll think of lots more and feel bad I forgot to mention them. So maybe I can do a round two!

SNAPCHAT NAME: jeffmindell – I’m putting Jeff first because I feel like we are best friends now on Snapchat. Hahaha. He’s a fantastic photographer and married to Kelly from Studio DIY, who I also really love to follow.

SNAPCHAT NAME: studiodiy – Kelly Mindell. She’s great. Jeff’s wife, Studio DIY superhero.

SNAPCHAT NAME: tubbytoddbathco – I am biased because this is my sister and so I think everything she posts is interesting. But still! She also shares behind-the-scenes from her really awesome all-natural child bath soap company Tubby Todd.

SNAPCHAT NAME: Freshlypicked1 – This is Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked, and she’s always teasing one of her employees on there, and it’s pretty great.

SNAPCHAT NAME: adamscarpenters – HAHAHA I love Adam. He’s a single man I’ve never met who lives in LA. If that’s weird, well, let it be weird. His IG consists of mostly nonsense dance videos, old people riding Jazzy scooters, and him doing impressions? Ha. He’s almost like a performance artists on Snapchat.

SNAPCHAT NAME: mrkate – I am always ALWAYS super interested in what Mr. Kate is doing. She’s another person I don’t know personally. But she’s got a very good Youtube channel, and is a super hard worker. She posts a lot on Snapchat, and comes from a different online world than I do. The Youtube world is a much different one. So I really love seeing the behind-the-scenes of how she is building her empire. She’s also a very funny person and entertaining too. She just produces so much content and I’m always impressed by her ability to do what she’s doing and not pay attention to what other people are doing.

SNAPCHAT NAME: simplysadiejane – You know I must really love this girl because she is a fitness blogger and proponent of clean eating. HAHAHA Simply Sadie Jane is just so damn likable, online and in person, and I do know her in person, and I really love the view into her fun life.

SNAPCHAT NAME: houselarsbuilt – Brittany from The House That Lars Built JUST started posting on Snapchat, I was actually going to give her the tutorial for the video, haha but she has figured it out and I think she’s hysterical on there. She posts all the snacks she eats. We have similar snack habits.

I would LOVE to hear who you follow! I don’t follow a lot of celebrities. Are any particularly good? Haha.

Well that is THAT! Was it helpful? Was it boring? I hope you learned something you wanted to, and if not, I’m sorry? What do you want from me? I’M JUST A GIRL!

Ok so much love!



Want something else to watch?

My first episode of the series “Teach Me Your Ways” is super good! Learn a really fab make-up look!

You can learn a little bit more about me, why I did what I do, and “How I Share It” here

OR Watch Susan and I (who I mentioned in the post) teach you how to look hot in pictures



  1. It took me the longest time to jump on the snapchat train, but I agree. I love how organic it is because you can’t import or edit very much. Also I just figured out that if you double tap the screen, it switches between the 2 cameras.

    1. ooooh awesome! thank you!

  2. Stacey Sargent

    I love following you on snap. I’m always cracking up. You’re real and refreshing and relatable.

    I’m obsessed with snap. It’s by far my favorite social media. I love that you don’t have to think about what you post like you do on Instagram. And I love just seeing everybody’s every day life and simple things. Makes them feel more real.

    Also super excited to come to your dance party. Your snap when you were happy crying cause your party sold out was so so sweet.

    Sorry for the novel. 🙂

    1. HAHAH aw thank you!!! I’m so happy you’re coming!!!

  3. Megan

    This was VERY helpful!! My girlfriends and I were just at dinner talking about snapchat this week- some of us get it others do not (I am in the ‘do not’ camp). All of your feelings about a new social media platform are shared here but I have been feeling the itch to go on. Thanks for the push!!! I’m signing up! Very informative video for this 30 something. I think I am officially no longer young and hip. Eh.

    1. HAHAHAHA well I know how old you are! Or how old you aren’t! but i’m so glad it was helpful!!

  4. First of all, HONORED. HONORED. I don’t have a 2nd of all.

    1. HAHAHAHA you’re the best

  5. Ah, I’ve been boycotting this forever. But now it sounds kind of fun…

    Besides my blog (if that counts) the only form of social media I use is instagram. And because there’s so much pressure on instagram to capture the perfect moment, and it already gives me anxiety, I try to stay out of everything else. I mean, I can only keep up and try to be cool so many times during the day. I posted something to instagram yesterday and after it only got 3 likes in 2 hours I deleted the app because it was giving me such anxiety and I didn’t want to see it again lol. Ridiculous I know. But….this sounds alright. And I take a million videos of my puppy, so that would be a great place to share those haha.

    1. Haha aw girl! I get it, no matter what the scale, it’s stressful! Yes snapchat is much better for that!

  6. Love following you on Snapchat! I run a children’s brand which sells activity kits for social and emotional skills. I mission is to help parents teach values through play!

    I agree that Instagram has added too much pressure, and as a startup brand looking to connect with influencers, I find Insta is sooo overwhelming! Snapchat is a great way for me to get to know the personality of these lovely mamas and see if our product fits into their lifestyle so we can send them some!

    My other favorites are @karim.jones @gparrish and @lovetaza @amberfillerup

    Thanks for the tips… Happy Friday!

    1. thats super interesting hearing that from a brand perspective! thank yoU!

    2. oh and I forgot to mention that I do follow children’s brands too! So I love following your sister and @freshlypicked1 …. but I also follow @sollybabywrap and @letsplayground

      It reminds to stay sane and remember to have fun while I’m working!

      Have a great weekend!

      1. Yes! LOVE all of theM! so great!

  7. Two weeks too late girl. 😉 and I MADE THE LIST?????? Ha!!!!!! I gotta get me some more snacks.

  8. Sarah W

    You are definitely my favorite to follow on Snapchat! I also follow heynataliejean, and houselarsbuilt, and lizsayyes. This is besides my actual friends of course. 🙂 I have had such a hard time figuring Snapchat out. I feel like it’s very intuitive for anyone younger than 25, but similar to you, I am a soon to be 33, mother of two, and I keep doing things I don’t mean to on Snapchat. So thank you!

    1. HAHA yes! I’m so glad it was helpful! I love natalie and liz too!

  9. Your snaps are the best haha no but seriously! Yours is my favorite to follow! But now I am following all the ones you suggested too so we’ll see how great they are too haha

  10. Your snaps and your Instagram account are the highlights of my day. I’ve also fallen in love with Snapchat. It’s my new outlet when I just want to be myself, and not worry about who’s “liking” me at the moment.

    P.S.- your family is adorable!

    1. Aw! Thank you so much! Yes! iT’s so refreshing!

  11. Georgina G

    Thanks for this, snapchat is really confusing! How do the famous people delay their posts to publish their story in one hit later on, so the super fans can’t stalk their where-abouts? Honestly, I only joined up to snapchat stalk Kaitlyn & Shawn! I’m kind of into the people on eNews as well- Cat Saddler, Jason Kennedy. Kylie Jenner’s snapchat also has me feeling really old and kind of prudish, like, is all that side-boob and suggestive body touching really appropriate for an 18 year old girl? Hmm

    1. HAHAHAHAH that’s why I don’t follow any of them! hahaha I just like to remain in my bubble where I’m cool…alternate reality! haha

  12. Chelsi

    Picky-palate is definitely one of my favorites. She posts bts from her food blog and her son Pax does that CUTEST dances ever!!

  13. Heidi Jo

    Okay girl, I’m suuuuper intimidated by this newfangled Snapchat app BUT you crack me up and I have been thinking about joining because that’s what I do- complain about new social media then sign up on the sly. And this was the push I needed to be a tiny bit less freaked out. So thank you- maybe. That remains to be seen. 😉

    1. hahah well glad I could MAYBE help! xo

  14. i looooooove watching your snapchat friend!!! thanks for all the great tips!!! and i always wondered what that score was!!!!

    Sandy a la Mode

  15. sylkang

    Thanks so much for posting this. I found you through a pinterest search. I’m new to snapchat and this was so helpful!!

    1. well that’s fun to know! thank you so much! I’m so glad I was helpful and I appreciate the comment! xo

  16. I agree with everything you said, and I love the idea that I can just post little things all day and they’ll be gone in 24 hours, not to be etched in stone. I have a blog and an Instagram account where I post about my knitting and spinning, but I want somewhere I don’t have to be careful and I don’t have to stay on topic. I don’t have an exciting life, but it’s still fun to post. I think most of us enjoy seeing what someone has for lunch, what their cat is doing, what tea they’re drinking, and what’s going on in our daily lives. I agree that Snapchat isn’t just for kids anymore, I knit, spin yarn on a spinning wheel, I’m 56 years old, and I want to play too. lol
    I just downloaded Snapchat and I’m following you and a couple of people on your list to get me started. Thanks so much for posting this info, and your video was really helpful. Oh ya, I’m MattieSpinner on Snapchat. 🙂

  17. Ohhhhhhhh Alison,

    I just fell in love with you! I’m popping over to snapchat and following you STAT.

    Ditto on how you feel about snapchat!! LURVE. I’m lynneknowlton on the snaps 🙂

    I follow a few of the same peeps as you. Who knew that a platform that has crappy filters, little interface, super basic and non-curated could be so ahhhhmazing?!

    Ps. So fab to meet you on line. I promise I’m not a weird-o.

    Lynne from Design The Life You Want To Live


    1. aw thank you so much!

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