Tag Archives: social media

Snapchat 101

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This is the first part of an occasional series breaking down popular social media platforms.

Snapchat. It’s a favorite social media app for students, and one that continues to baffle those born prior to 1986. Ignore it at your peril, because this platform is now used daily by 100 million people, brands and universities. What’s the appeal? Siobhan Sullivan, BC News & Public Affairs Assistant, walks us through the basics.

Snapchat Background
Launched in 2011, Snapchat has become a place for friends to connect, meet new people and share experiences. Like all social media apps, Snapchat has been updated numerous times. First adding filters, followed by videos, texting, money transfers, geotags, stories, and now face filters.

At the most basic level, “snaps” are real-time, spontaneous pictures or videos taken and shared with friends for up to 10 seconds. By default, Snaps disappear from the screen once they are viewed – unless a friend decides to keep it through a screenshot. In fact, the only way to “save” a snap is to screenshot. Taking one will notify the sender that you did so.

If you opened a snap too fast or missed the image, you now have the ability to replay. One replay every 24 hours is free and additional replays can be purchased.

Here is a rundown of a few basic functions:


There are three main ways to add friends on Snapchat.

image1 (2)Add by Username: If you know the username of someone you wish to add on Snapchat, enter it in the find field. Tap the square plus sign next to the username and it should turn purple, indicating you have sent them a request.

Add from Address Book: Choosing this option will link your phone contacts to Snapchat. How your contact appears in your phone (i.e., their name) is how you will find them on Snapchat. Just like adding by username, find the person you want to add and click the plus sign. It should turn purple when the request has been sent to private users. Public accounts allow a follow without approval.

Add by Snapcode: One of Snapchat’s newer features is Snapcode, a personalized code for every Snapchat user (think: bar code or QR code). You can add friends this way by taking a photo of someone’s Snapcode (companies have been making it their Twitter profile picture) and uploading it to the ‘add by snapcode’ option.


Snapchat has numerous options to sending a snap. These include: photos, videos, messages, and stories.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 9.59.00 AMPhoto: Snaps are most commonly sent in photo form. To do this, choose the direction you want the camera to face (upper right hand corner on the Snapchat screen) either direct the camera at you (selfie!) or the opposite direction. Press the large circle once and there you have a Snapchat photo. You can also draw on the photo and/or add filters. More to come on that later.

Video: Sending a Snapchat in video form is just as easy as sending a photo. This time, instead of tapping the circle once, you will hold it down until you have what you want to send, or the time runs out. Videos also have new filters.

Messaging: Snapchat introduced messaging to keep up with the apps like Facebook and Kik, both of which allow photo/video sharing and messengers. Snapchat messaging is simple. You go to your Snapchat log and click the upper left hand ‘talk bubble’. You will be taken to a “chat with…” screen. Here, you can choose a friend to message. OR, you can go to your Snapchat log, if you want to immediately respond to a Snapchat you just received, slide left on that friend’s name and just type a message.

IMG_5525Stories: Snapchat Story is one of the app’s more popular features. To post something to your story, take a photo or video and on that screen there is a plus sign. Choose this option and a pop-up will appear asking you if you want to post this to your story. Choose yes. Now this Snapchat is available to all of your friends for 24 hours. To delete a story tap the icon next to your story, then choose the trashcan at the bottom of the photo. To see who views your story, go to the ‘story’ page, click the three vertical dots next to your story, a drop down of all your posted stories will appear. Views will show up via an eye icon with a number. That number indicates views. To see who those views are from, click the eye. (See some brands who are putting together some exceptional snap stories.)

Viewing other stories: To view a friend’s Snapchat story, open the app. If there is a new story, the bottom right corner will be purple indicating a new snap. Click the box and this will bring you to your story page. There, all new stories will be listed. Open one and advance through the snaps by tapping the screen. Friends are notified if you viewed their story.

Viewing Discover stories. Popular events (debates, games, Olympics) now give access to people who can’t be there in person. Discover includes stories from companies like ESPN, Food Network, and publications like Cosmopolitan and the Wall Street Journal. You can watch these stories just like any other story.

Photo/Video Filters: There are numerous photo filters to use every time you snap. After taking a photo, slide left on the screen until you find the filter you want. There are two alternative colored filters and a black and white one. There’s also a speed (mph or km/h) filter, a temperature filter, a time stamp filter, and geotags. To change from mph-km/h or from Fahrenheit-Celsius in their respective filters, tap the screen where the filter appears and it should change.

Special Video Filters: Snapchat video recently added some new special features.

Slow down: Scroll filters until you find the snail. This will slow the video down.

Speed up: Scroll to the rabbit icon, this will speed up the video.

Super speed: Scroll to the rabbit with wind icon, this causes the video to go faster.

Reverse: Scroll to the rewind/reverse icon. This will play your video in reverse.


Geotags: Geotags are location filters. BC has *a few.* One of the most popular is of Gasson Hall, another says “Boston College”. If you travel, chances are you will discover new geotags. Location services in your phone must be turned on (and allowed for Snapchat) for geotags to work. Just like the other filters, scroll until you find the one you want.

Text on Snapchats: If you want to add text to a photo or video Snapchat, click the T (after taking the Snapchat) in the upper right hand corner. This will provide a text space for you to type your message.

Drawing: If, instead of text on your snap you want to draw, click the pen icon. You can also change the color by tapping the color wheel. Fun fact: If you want a specific color but can’t get it by the color wheel, click the main color you want and hold your finger down dragging it across the screen. You will see the color changing, choose the color you want. There’s also an undo button after drawing.

Emoji’s: You can also add emoticons (or Emoji’s) to your Snapchat. Just like the texting and drawing icons, to add an Emoji to your Snapchat, click the paper icon next to the Text icon after you take your snap. Emoji’s will appear – choose the one you want. Fun fact: To resize your emoji, use two fingers on the emoji of choice, and move them apart, the emoji should get larger or smaller. To move the location of the emoji, use one finger to reposition it.

Fun Filters: To add a fun filter (eye lazers, princess crowns, etc.) turn the camera towards yourself(ie), and hold down on the screen (where your face is). An outline of your face will appear and at the bottom, different filters will appear in circles. Choose the one you want and then take a photo or video.

Multiple Filters: If you want to use more than one filter on a Snapchat, you can! First, choose the main filter you want (color, black and white, etc.) then hold down with one finger on the screen and scroll left until you find your next filter. If you want a third filter, you can do this again.


-Brands use Snapchat stories for promotion, but this platform is for real-time content. Don’t overproduce, or your friends and followers will be turned off.

-If a friend sends you questionable content, block or delete them. Simply click their name and choose block, delete, or report.

Teenagers are much better at snapchat than you. Sorry. When approaching this platform, bring students or younger staff into brainstorming sessions.

Click on This: BC Athletics Case Study

bc-football-1000x750A great story from SMC friend, social media expert and CSOM Prof. Jerry Kane was recently published in MIT Sloan Management Review. “The Seven Lessons of BC Football’s Social Media Campaign” highlights the hard work done this year by BC football Coach Steve Addazio, his staff and the BC Athletics Department.

Much has been said about the #BeADude campaign, but as Prof. Kane notes, the results are hard to ignore. “Within one year, the program’s recruiting class jumped to 17th nationally and 4th in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Many new recruits attributed their decisions directly to the #BeADude campaign. What’s more, a campaign that started to attract recruits also began to attract fans and alumni.”

Lessons from this campaign extend beyond athletics: Know your business objectives. Pick the right platforms for your audience. Make social fun. Kane links to this feature by two INSEAD Profs. Quy Huyy and Andrew Shipilov, “The Key to Social Media Success Within Organizations,” who study how social can aid in developing goodwill surrounding a brand. They write: “Our finding is that to be successful, internal social media initiatives must focus first and foremost on the development of emotional capital, which we define as the aggregate feelings of goodwill toward a company and the way it operates.”

Underscoring the power of emotional capital when recruiting – be it a wide receiver, a valedictorian or a renowned researcher – is an article by Jim Nolan, President of Southwest College that Denise Ho, Assistant Director of the BC Graduate Student Life recently passed along. “In Higher Education, Social Media is Your Job,” Nolan provides some “tough love” to colleagues and hits on many of the same themes as Kane. Nolan writes: “Business, these days, including the business of higher education, is, thankfully, in an era in which connectivity, developing relationships, leading with authenticity, and offering transparency, are the currencies of the realm. We need to build relationships with our prospects. And relationships no longer begin with a handshake — they begin with a Retweet, a Like, a Share, a Subscribe, a Comment, an interchange in social media.”

Do you have an article that should be highlighted to Social Media Council members? Email the link to social@bc.edu

Social Media Council – Meeting Summary

Last week marked the second meeting of the BC Social Media Council. During our hour-long session, the 12 departments represented participated in a presentation on what students would like to see on social media, reviewed the results of an informal survey among our members and started to tackle the issue of forming social media guidelines at BC.

Kelly Alice Robinson, the Career Information Services Manager for the Boston College Career Center, is in charge of much of the center’s rich social media offerings. Robinson provided great insight into student social media habits, sharing the results of the Career Center’s focus groups, conducted this semester on campus. Major points included:

– Everything that you’ve read about email being dead is wrong. Students in the two groups said that “Twitter and email are everything.” Students  – especially freshman and sophomores – report that they check their email and Twitter accounts continually throughout the day. They are “constantly connected” and are more apt to read emails specific to them (i.e. an email specific to junior communications majors, as opposed to a blanket university email). They also were more likely to read emails that were not especially text heavy and had a graphic element.

– Students want and expect 24/7 access. Students were very receptive to the Career Center’s online chat with career counselors and the ability the schedule appointments at any time of the day or night, any day of the week.

– Minimize website content – students felt overwhelmed when visiting certain websites due to too much content and recommended admins. utilize more substantive video content.

Robinson also spoke about the Career Center’s blogs. (And if you’d like to see an especially prolific blogging approach being done at BC, click here for the RealJobs Blog and here for the Center’s blog.)

Finally, the SMC reviewed the first draft of guidelines for social media administrators, a document that will be published in September.

Next meeting date was set for June 13. Mark your calendars!

Shameless Self Promotion

Time for some shameless self promotion: Boston College Pinterest was recently tagged by Boston Inno as one of two schools in Boston “doing Pinterest right.”

Here’s Lauren Landry’s article “Beyond Boston College & Babson, The City’s Schools are Basically Mute on Pinterest”

Praise and a BC puppy photo – doesn’t get much better than that!

The “new” social media channels

The two newest social media pilot projects at Boston College are Pinterest and Google+. These channels will be the topics up for discussion at the Student Affairs social media roundtable on Friday, April 13.

HubSpot just came out with a new eBook, Battle of the New Social Networks, (download the free PDF here). In framing the discussion, HubSpot states: “Last Monday, Google+ reached 100 million active users while Pinterest was rated the third most-visited social network in the U.S. For marketers, these networks can’t be ignored.”

Pin This: US News just published a story about the growth of Pinterest at colleges and universities and the struggle to justify the resources to yet another social media channel. The article states: “For schools looking to promote admissions, people between the ages of 25 and 34—which would traditionally be alumni—make up nearly 30 percent of Pinterest’s overall users, according to comScore; users between the ages of 18 and 24 make up about 17 percent, and users between 12 and 17 years old make up about 4 percent.” US News then focuses on Drake University, and the great work they are doing with this medium. It is one of the schools we follow closely. Click here to see their page.

Taking a step back, one of the best articles we’ve found that both explains and educates about Pinterest basics is here: “The Ultimate List of Pinterest Tips” from BloggingWithAmy. In this article, Amy Lynn Andrews provides a great Pinterest primer, points to the official Pinterest guidelines and shared some of her own Pinterest pet peeves. All are important, not only to figure out how to administer a successful page, but also to find out what annoys people.

Amy’s blog post also dives into the issue of copyright surrounding this medium. (And here is the article by Joel Garcia that is credited with bringing the whole issue to the forefront) While great for driving traffic to blogs or a website, there are very real concerns about ownership of digital materials. (Here’s an article by Dave Copeland at ReadWriteWeb that explains how Pinterest is getting around the copyright laws.) We won’t pretend to know all the legalese, but at this juncture, we’ve decided to continue on the site, while closely monitoring the issues. (For more about BC Pinterest, read our earlier post here.)

Waiting for Google+: We’ve written a little bit already on Google+ here. To be honest, in the last two months, not much has changed. Our numbers continue to grow modestly, but truth be told, we’re experiencing far greater success on our other channels. This will be one area that we will review around the one-year mark and determine if it makes sense to continue on this channel.

According to the HubSpot, we’re not alone. After citing that general confusion of the medium among users continues to plague Google+, HubSpot states “users spent an average of just 3.3 minutes on Google+ (compared to nearly 8 hours on Facebook and nearly 100 minutes on Pinterest.) Do then, marketers want to spend time on a social network their audiences aren’t using?”

For Boston College’s purposes, we are encouraged that one of the two of the biggest user groups on Google+ are college students (the other is software developers.) It is also interesting the majority of users are male at 63%, compared to Pinterest’s 83% female audience, according to HubSpot. It simply remains to be seen if we can make this a dynamic space.

What has been your experience on Google+ and Pinterest?

Social Media and Student Athletes

This article from the New York Times was especially timely, given a discussion that recently came up during our first Social Media Council session.

The article asks some questions that many colleges and universities are facing when it comes to the Twitter feeds of their athletes: “Where should the line be drawn? Can colleges monitor athletes without being invasive? And is it legal for a university to require that a student make his private information available?”

The article reads: “The debate on college campuses mirrors the larger conversation throughout the country over how much access to personal online activities private individuals can be compelled to give to employers. University administrators face a tricky situation when it comes to their players’ activity on social media, balancing issues of privacy while trying to guard against the possibility that an errant posting on Twitter or Facebook could result in trouble for an athlete or the athletic department.”

How does your department deal with student accounts? Should colleges and universities monitor the Twitter accounts of their athletes? Should it go beyond athletes?

Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement

Here’s a great read for those of us tasked with being the admins. for Facebook pages – “The ultimate guide to Facebook fan engagement” by Jeff Bullas on Ragan’s PR Daily.It just so happens that these are some of the most common questions that we encounter when talking all things Facebook with departments and organizations here at BC.

Bullas shares research by Buddy Media that took Facebook user engagement data of the top 100 retailers during a six-month period in 2011. These are interesting items that include be best time of day to post for maximum user engagement (between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.), best days to post (Wednesdays) and the ideal number of times week to post (one to four). As Bullas points out, this data provides some useful lessons that can apply to many types of businesses or organizations.

This month also marks the shift from the pages we know and love to Timeline pages. Kevin Allen writes “What PR Pros Need to Know About Facebook Timeline for Brands”, another good resource that underlines the importance of moderation on our social media sites.

Happy reading!