Have you ever hesitated to share pictures with online friends of your everyday life, your slightly embarrassing moments or your crazy nights out? Maybe you opted not to share the pictures because you know that content posted online never really goes away. If you’d like to share more pictures and videos with your friends in a worry-free environment, Snapchat is about to become your new favorite mobile app.

What Is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile communication app meant for ephemeral messages that disappear from recipients’ phones after just a few seconds. You can use Snapchat to send a message, photo or video to a friend or group of friends. After 10 seconds, the content that you send disappears from the recipients’ phones forever. Snapchat is meant for people who believe that online communication isn’t as fun as it could be because people concern themselves too much with keeping up appearances online.

Snapchat Stories

If you’d like to post content on Snapchat that remains visible a little longer than a standard message, you can also post a story. A story is ideal if you’re traveling, for example, and want to tell your friends about your experiences. Your friends can view the stories that you post for up to 24 hours.

Snapchat Discover

Television networks, news websites and other companies are on Snapchat as well. The Snapchat Discover function allows you to see short videos and other content posted by these companies. You’ll see commercials when you watch Snapchat Discover content, but many people find the short videos interesting enough to watch anyway.

Adding Friends on Snapchat

You can add friends on Snapchat simply by asking for their user names. Since Snapchat has about 150 million daily users, it’s likely that almost anyone you meet who owns a smartphone uses the service. Alternatively, you can ask someone to show you their Snapchat profile. On the profile, you’ll see an image of a ghost. Position your phone’s camera over the ghost to add that person as a friend.

Snapchat also has the ability to add friends from your phone’s contact list.

Snapchat Friend Icons

When you view your friend list in Snapchat, you’ll see an icon called an “emoji” next to each name. The emoji describes your relationship with that person on Snapchat. Here’s how the emojis work:

Grinning face: You receive messages from that person frequently but send few messages to him or her.
Glasses: You send messages to each other often.
Smiley face: You send messages to that person often.
Flame: You send messages to each other daily.
Grimace: You and that person have the same favorite Snapchat friend.

Sending Your First Snap

When you open Snapchat, your camera automatically turns on. Simply point the camera at the desired target. Tap the round button to take a picture, or hold the button to begin recording a video. Next, tap the blue arrow to decide who you’ll allow to see the message. Toggle the box next to the name of each friend. When you’re done selecting friends, you can send your first snap.