Snapchat's rise to fame and fortune is the latest dotcom rags-to-riches story. Its founder Evan Spiegel, 26, earned his stripes among the likes of Zuck of Facebook and Costolo of Twitter. His brainchild now boasts 150 million daily active users. (Spiegel turned down Team Zuck's offer to buy Snapchat for a measly $3B cash in late 2013.)


A good way to get into the swing of Snapchat is to follow people who are rocking this platform. This list includes:
• Kylie (kylizzlemynizzl)
• DJ Khaled (Djkhaled305)
• Sephora (Sephora)
• Birchbox (Birchbox)
• Covergirl (Covergirlxo)
• Essie (Essielovesnaps)
• Amazon (Amazon)
• Burberry (Burberry)
• Chrissy Teigen (chrissyteigen)
• Maybelline (Maybelline)
• USA Gymnastics (USA_gym)
• The White House (Whitehouse—Yes, the one
on Pennsylvania Ave)

Snapchat offers a fresh way to send photos and videos to friends. In a nutshell, it involves snapping a photo or selfie or a short (up to 10 second) video, drawing on it or adding text, incorporating one or many filters, throwing in some emojis for good measure, adding a self-destructing timer (up to 10 seconds), and sending it out to select friends or adding it to your Story. A Story is a curation of all of your snaps from the past 24 hours and then it's gone, unless you “save it down” in Snapchat speak.

“The intent to preserve and capture something is very different from the urge to share, but they had become intertwined. Creating a representation of yourself for the Internet stopped making sense when we were all on phones and connected everywhere,” Spiegel told

It's No Snap

For anyone older than 35, Snapchat can be a cruel mistress. It is counterintuitive to how we usually approach and consume social media. First of all, it's an app that lives on your phone, and a confusing one at that. It's tricky to navigate from the get-go, and it is not abundantly clear how to use it at first glance. (Full disclosure: I have a Snapchat—@beautyinthebag—but have never used it myself and have a team of savvy millennials managing the platform for us.)

Filters, including geofilters that indicate the location of your snaps, are a huge aspect of Snapchat and allow users to customize and brand their posts. You can add colors, fonts, textures, animal snouts, flower crowns, 3D stickers, and even soundtracks.

There are other bells and whistles, too. With Memories, a cumulative archive of all of the snaps you've sent and posted to your story and followers, you can save snaps and share photos that were not taken “in the moment.” You can create a searchable collection of saved snaps that can be categorized by keywords, including location or name. There is also be a password-protected section called “My Eyes Only,” where users can save more private/personal snaps for their friends to access.  And Discover invites users to stumble on channels from a range of top publishers like CNN, Mashable, DailyMail, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, People, etc. and highlights of current events like the Olympics and other news stories in one place.

Love it or hate it, SnapChat is here to stay. If you are marketing to millennials, it is well worth your time to get to know this platform. That said, if you are a private or introverted person by nature, tend to shy away from extreme bouts of narcissism and rants, or are uncomfortable being a voyeur, Snapchat may not be for you. It allows users an unfiltered look into other people's lives, businesses, and unedited thoughts. It's not always pretty.

Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & CO Ltd, a marketing and social media boutique in New York City, and Founder/Editor in Chief of Reach her at