What Is a Snapchat Story?

Share Snaps in a narrative style

A Snapchat story is a photo or video you post to your very own stories section (or feed) of your account, which is visible by you and all your friends. Simply swipe left from the camera tab in the Snapchat app until you see a screen tab labeled Discover. Your friends' stories will appear under the Friends section at the top.

You can tap anybody's name to trigger to view a friend's story, or stories in the order they were posted if the user posted several of them. Stories live for 24 hours and can be viewed again and again for that period. Once the 24-hour time limit is up, they are automatically deleted.

Another way to see that friends have posted new stories is to look at their profile icon in your Conversations tab if you've been snapping with them. Their profile/Bitmoji icon will turn into a circled clip of their story. You can tap it to watch it instantly.

When you post a story, your friends will see it appear in their stories section. You'll also be able to see who viewed your story.

If you want to limit who can see your stories, you can configure your privacy settings so that your stories can be viewed by anyone on Snapchat who decides to add you, friends only or a customized group of users.

Posting Your First Snapchat Story

Posting a Story on Snapchat is easy. There are two different ways that you can do it.

Snapchat ghost icon on a smartphone screen.

Posting from the Camera Tab

The camera tab is the tab in the middle of the app. Swipe right from the Conversations tab or left from the Discover tab to access it.

Snap a photo or record a video the same way you would if you were going to send it as a message. On the preview, you should notice a rectangular icon with a plus sign located at the bottom of the screen. Selecting that will add it to your story feed, and if it's your first time doing so, a pop-up box will display a message asking you to confirm it and also to give you a brief explanation of what the icon does.

Changed your mind about a story you posted? Find out how to delete it yourself before it automatically deletes itself upon the 24-hour expiry period.

Posting from a Snap Reply

The second way to add a photo or video to your stories section is during a snap conversation with a friend (or a group). If you want to send the photo or video as a message as well as post it to your Stories at the same time, simply tap +More Friends in the bottom left and then tap My Story.

In general, the first posting method is useful if you exclusively want your message to be posted to directly to your Stories section and nowhere else. The second method gives you the option to create a Story from a message reply.

Why Use Snapchat Stories?

People love Stories for its impermanence and casual nature. They don't have to worry about the content sticking around on their profiles forever, nor do they feel the pressure of having to garner tons of likes or comments.

The idea is that users can kind of tell a story about their entire day in a narrative manner through stories. It's supposed to be used to give friends a brief look at what interesting things a friend has done in the past 24 hours.

People who have large followings can also take advantage of stories. Snapchat has always been known as a private messaging app, but stories offer a more public way of sharing. Lots of celebs, brands, and other high profile users can share their Snapchat username manually or by snapcode so that any stories they post can be viewed by the thousands and thousands of users who decide to add them.

Even though we all have access to so many other feed-style apps to share our lives with our friends, Snapchat stories are at least a great option to use if you take a fantastic snap that you'd like to be viewable for more than just a few seconds. Sometimes, a message is so good that it needs to be accessible at least a few more times.

If you'd like to find out how to make snaps last even longer ever, check out our article on taking Snapchat screenshots.