What Is a Snapchat Story?

Snapchat Stories Offer You a Way to Share Snaps in a Narrative Way

Close-up of hands taking picture of girlfriend trying on dress in shop
Photo © Klaus Vedfelt / Iconica / Getty Images

Wondering what Snapchat stories are all about? You're not the only one.

If you're a seasoned user, then you probably already know that Snapchat is a popular app used for sending quick photos and videos to individuals and groups of friends in the most casual way possible–because they all "self-destruct" and are automatically deleted just seconds after the recipient opens it.

But Snapchat stories give you a brand new way to share stuff with your friends.

In fact, this new little feature is a lot more like a personal feed rather than a message. Here's what you need to know about it.

Snapchat Stories Explained

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 from right to left on any tab in the Snapchat app until you see a screen tab labeled "Stories." Your friends' stories will appear under "Recent Updates." 

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.

When you post a story, your friends will see it appear in their stories section. All users can configure their privacy settings so that their stories can be viewed by anyone on Snapchat, just friends or a customized group of users.

Posting a Snapchat Story

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

First, you can do it straight from the snap/record screen. As soon as you're finished with your photo or video, 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.

Keep in mind that once you press that little icon to add it to your stories, there's no turning back. It gets posted to your feed and from the looks of things right now, there's no way to delete it yourself. It will only be deleted after 24 hours, so you'll just have to wait it out.

The second way to add a photo or video to your stories section is to press through to your 'Send to..." tab and tap the circle next to "My Story" located at the very top of your friend list. You can also select any friends you want to individually receive your message.

In general, the first posting method is useful if you exclusively want your message to be posted to directly to your Stories section s and that's it. The second method gives you the option to add the message to your Stories while also selecting whichever friends you'd like to receive it as a regular message as well.

Why Use Snapchat Stories?

With so many other micro-video and casual photo sharing apps like Instagram, Vine, and others, why would you even want to use Snapchat Stories anyway?

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 new 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.