Decoding the unwritten rules of Snapchat

November 2, 2021 — by Meher Bhatnagar and Kavya Patel
A list of do’s and don'ts regarding one of the most popular social media apps for teens
This Snapchat survival guide will make you look like you know how to use the app

Ding! Ding! … Ding! Ding! Two people have sent you a chat! Wait, don’t open it right away — it’s clingy and weird to open a snap right after you get it. 

Hi, we’re Meher and Kavya, and this is your Snapchat survival guide on how not to be perceived as a weirdo. 

As avid Snapchat users of almost 5 years, we can confidently say that we know the app inside and out. It might seem simple, but there are many unspoken rules you should adhere to decrease your chances of being made fun of. 

Rule No. 1: Be cautious about what you send and upload to your stories. Since Snapchat is a social media application, anything you post can be seen by others. There’s always the chance that you might accidentally send a snap to the wrong person or upload it to your public story without knowing. 

Speaking of stories, there is a long list of dos and don’ts for what you should be posting. 

Rule No. 2: Don’t ask someone to give you a shoutout on their story in turn for you giving them a shoutout on yours. A shoutout is like a message someone posts about you, like “Add Bob on Snapchat.” This is also known as a shoutout for shoutout (SFS) and no one does that anymore. 

Another rule of thumb: Don’t post YOLOs or Sendit boxes — essentially question boxes — asking people to slide up on your story and say something to you. Absolutely no one cares about what others have to say to you. It’s bothersome, and if you keep spamming your story, you most certainly will get blocked. Plus, it’s obvious you are responding to your own YOLOs, seeing as no one else has the time to slide up and type out a whole response. 

Rule No. 3: If you absolutely must post a million pictures on your story, then set up a private story where only your friends can view your story.  Here, you can spam your heart out without caring about what other people may think of you. Still, if you decide to use filters like the dog ears or the flower crown unironically, don’t blame us when all of your friends end up blocking you. 

The final rule is a simple one: Please don’t send streaks. At one point in middle school, sending streaks, or daily photos, was a ritual. Seeing that red fire emoji gradually increase everyday was like acing a test you studied hours for, and for it to disappear entirely after forgetting to send a snap one day used to be the most painful thing a middle schooler could experience. 

But in high school, it’s just plain aggravating. When someone opens Snapchat, the last thing they want to see is a picture of your ceiling with the word “streaks” in the middle. 

Most young Snapchat users send streaks in order to increase their “Snap score,” which tallies the number of snaps you send and receive. Both very low and very high Snap scores seem suspicious. Many people feel that a high Snap score is an indicator that the person is untrustworthy, and people with extremely low Snap scores are seen as newbies or creeps. 

With our guide for Snap success, you’ll be an expert in no time, we promise. Have fun, but PLEASE don’t use the dog filter. Seriously. Don’t. 

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