Why Snapchat Matters

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Kate on Snapchat

Over the past several months, Snapchat has been becoming a more and more prominent social network. What was once though to be the domain for teenagers sending each other nude photos has become a powerful new medium of communication.

As a publisher, I’ve watched as all of the social networks became more perfection-focused for bloggers and publishers like myself. Instagram was no longer for instant smartphone photos of wherever you were; today it must be a portfolio of your best DSLR photos. Pinterest was no longer a folder of cool things you liked; today it must be a carefully curated collection of themed boards. YouTube was no longer for casual videos; today everything must be perfect.

We were due for a backlash. And then came Snapchat — a platform where everything was designed to be raw, short, unedited, and real.

Snapchat is exploding in popularity, particularly amongst the younger demographic. So it’s time to jump on. Those who don’t believe in it are going to be left behind.

Kate on Snapchat

What is Snapchat?

Here are the things to know about Snapchat:

1) Snapchat is a messaging app. You can send images and video, each lasting up to 10 seconds, you can also text each other. These are called “snaps,” and they disappear after you view them.

2) There are two options: private messaging and public snaps, aka My Story. Private snaps stay live until the recipient opens them; public snaps on My Story stay public for 24 hours and then disappear. You can view them as often as you’d like within the 24-hour period.

3) No editing prior to taking the photo or video is allowed. You can only upload snaps using the Snapchat camera right there and then.

4) Some editing after taking the photo or video is allowed. This is where Snapchat shines — you can use text and draw on top of your photo! Text is limited. Emojis are fun.

There are also three color filters, temperature and speed filters, and many cities and regions around the world offer city filters. They’re designed by local artists.

5) There are some third-party apps out there that allow you to upload photos previously taken and add additional text. However, third-party apps are technically against Snapchat’s terms of service, so I urge you to tread lightly. You don’t want to get banned. I haven’t touched third-party apps yet and I haven’t seen any big brands using them, but some of my friends have dabbled.

6) Every snap is supposedly deleted from Snapchat’s servers after posting. But keep in mind that nothing is ever 100% safe or 100% deleted. You can screenshot snaps that you like; the person will receive a notification if you screenshot one of their snaps.

7) The Live function shows community-shared snaps from public places and events. Each day features a different city or two (today it’s Asunsción, Paraguay); some days also feature events and festivals like the Tour de France, the Tomorrowland music festival, and my personal favorite so far, the Lumberjack Championships in Wisconsin!

I love these live snaps because it really gives you the essence of a city or event in short clips. If you’re in a city currently being featured, you are given the option to upload one of your snaps to the live event; the snaps featured are curated by Snapchat’s staff. (I’ve only been in one city currently being featured live — Chicago — and they did not choose any of the snaps I submitted!)

8) The Discover function shows you snaps from publishers. Some of the ones featured are CNN, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, Vice, MTV, Food Network, and more.

9) The only statistic you are able to see is views on each snap. You can’t tell how many users you have unless you count them manually.

Kate on Snapchat

Why Snapchat Matters

It’s f*cking huge. Snapchat has 100 million daily users. 100 million!! Another factor? 70% of users are women. 400 million snaps are sent per day. 8,976 snaps are shared each second.

It’s a social network growing incredibly fast to a young audience. Periscope and Beme may have dominated headlines recently, and while they are the darlings of internet and social media geeks, they aren’t pulling anywhere near the growth of Snapchat.

In other words, normal people use Snapchat — just like Pinterest and Instagram, the other two rapidly growing social networks. Snapchat is not a platform for internet junkies; Snapchat is for real life.

Engagement is huge. In order for someone to view your snap, they need to touch it. That is engagement — it’s not counted by what people like (like Instagram), but what they see. As a result, numbers are huge.

It pays to be an early adopter. I missed the boat on adopting Instagram super-early. Had I done so, I could have been a top influencer in travel. I’m not going to make the same mistake twice.

Kate on Snapchat

Common Arguments Against Snapchat

“Isn’t it just for dick pics and sexts?” Nope. That’s a common misconception. If that were the case, no major brands would be on it.

“It’s just for teenagers.” Wrong again. It may be dominated by people under 30, but over time, I’ve gained more and more users who are older. On my birthday, I joked that at 31 I was the oldest person on Snapchat, and was immediately deluged by snaps from people in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s telling me I was wrong!

“I don’t have time for another social media platform.” Then reduce your time on Twitter. Honestly, I think Twitter has been in decline for a long time. You’ll get more mileage on Snapchat.

“It doesn’t drive traffic to my site, so I shouldn’t bother.” Dude. It’s more than driving traffic. As I always say, social media is about making yourself present in your readers’ lives. Snapchat plays into that.

In the words of a reader named Aisling: “I found you on snapchat first and then found your website!”

Kate on Snapchat

How to Rock Snapchat As a Blogger or Personality

Everyone is different and everyone has different goals. These are some great ways to get started.

Go to settings and make sure non-friends can see your snaps. Set “Who Can Send Me Snaps” to “Everyone” and “Who Can View My Story” to “Everyone.” This is so your readers can be in touch with you.

Think entertainment factor, not perfection. That’s why I go for funnier over prettier snaps. Save the perfect shots for Instagram.

Tell a story. It’s not just about a snap here and a snap there — it’s about adding up the sum of a place. This is especially valuable when traveling or going on a tour of a certain place.

Show behind-the-scenes action. People are incredibly curious about what we do for our strange careers. Show them the nitty-gritty!

Be funny. Probably what I enjoy the most.

Communicate with your followers. You don’t have to respond to every “hi” you receive, but it takes two seconds to send a quick reply to everyone who says hello or asks a question! (Most recently: a reader snapped me a few minutes ago saying, “HOW DO I PACK FOR A YEAR?” I just replied, “Whatever you need, you can buy there!”)

Most importantly, be yourself. Truth: if you’ve been putting on a front and being a different person, you won’t be able to fake it on Snapchat. It’s go time.

Kate on Snapchat

How I (@adventurouskate) Rock Snapchat

For those of you who are new to this site, it’s nice to meet you! I’m Adventurous Kate. I’m a 31-year-old American girl who travels the world full-time and blogs about solo and independent travel for women. You can find me on Snapchat at @adventurouskate.

Here’s something you probably don’t know about me — when I’m with my friends, I spend all my time trying to make them laugh, mostly at my own expense. And I’m a former drama geek. Add those together and you have a powder keg of performance potential.

So on Snapchat, it’s not just about travel — it’s about me trying to crack you guys up as much as possible.

Yes, I do use Snapchat to show you the cool places where I’m traveling around the world. Which is very cool on its own. Sometimes I do tours — once I live snapped a Red Sox game; once I did a walking tour of Corfu, Greece.

But you also get me:

  • Going on a tirade about why The Rock never took off his shirt in San Andreas.
  • Singing like Cartman as I see a street named Via del Ghetto in Sicily.
  • Showing you what I’m eating, especially if it’s an unusual local food you may not have heard of.
  • Not just hiking to the top of Kotor, but me in all my sweaty, wheezing awkwardness.
  • Hanging out with readers whenever they recognize me.
  • Dancing to “Pony” by Ginuwine in advance of seeing Magic Mike XXL.

And other things. I talk a bit about beauty and fashion; sometimes I do makeup tutorials. No matter where I am, I point out weird and funny things I spot along the way.

Oh, and sometimes I talk about things I won’t talk about anywhere else.

Kate on Snapchat

Does It Pay Off?

Hell yes. I’ll leave you with a few quotes from my readers:

“Love your snaps. It’s like my morning routine to catch up on your snaps and laugh my head off!” —Amy

“I’m SO glad you joined Snapchat — I literally look forward to seeing your snaps every day (I even showed my mom the Riga ones!).” –Noelle

“My favourite of your 30 things definitely include snapchat- I absolutely love following your snaps- you make me laugh so much!” —Britt

And I get the best feedback in the form of snaps from my followers! Check this one out:

Kate on Snapchat

Travelers to Follow on Snapchat

At this point in time, not a lot of travelers and travel bloggers are doing much with Snapchat. I’d like to highlight a few of the ones who are doing exceptional work so far. These are people who know how to use Snapchat to tell a story.


Drew is the king — plain and simple. In my opinion, nobody is doing travel Snapchat better than him right now, and he’s got a great feel for the rhythm that will entertain people. He’s currently traveling, partying, and festival-ing his way across Europe.


Follow Edna and you’ll realize that nobody is eating and drinking as well as her. She’s a newly minted full-time traveler, but most of her snaps cover high-end dining and cocktails from Shanghai to Paris.


You’ve seen Cailin in many of my blog posts — well, she’s one of the funniest people I know. And that sense of humor carries over into Snapchat. She recently went to the Yukon in Canada and snapped a pic of her kissing a severed dead toe!


Mark is the food and travel guy — Thai food in particular. His snaps are all about what he’s currently eating, with a bit of travel thrown in. He also happens to make the funniest “yummy faces” of anyone I know.


Kiersten is in a new destination every time I check in with her — she has a great mix of narration and showcasing the places she’s visiting. A California girl, she was just in France and in Portland for a short weekend.


If anyone is living like a baller right now, it’s Ryan, who spends his summers in Europe and winters in Mexico. His party snaps from the yacht week in Croatia were probably the most jealousy-inducing snaps I’ve ever seen (especially the six-liter bottles of Belvedere).


Matt is known for his extreme adventures, but on Snapchat you’ll find Matt the real life human. He’s currently hanging out in Madrid, his summer base, and snapping from behind the scenes around the city.

Kate on Snapchat

Other Travelers to Follow

It’s still the early days in terms of travel, and everyone is still finding their footing, but I also enjoy snaps from the following people:

@globotreks — Norbert shows snaps from his round the world adventures, many in Latin America right now.

@youngadventures — Liz is snapping away from beautiful Wanaka, New Zealand, and around.

@jeremysfoster — Jeremy shows snaps from his adventures around the world. He’s in Berlin right now.

@glamdering — Alex is snapping live from Copenhagen and on his travels.

@waegook_tom — Tom, a hilarious guy, is sharing lots of live snaps from Taipei.

@theplanetd — Dave and Deb are sharing behind-the-scenes snaps on their adventure trips, most recently Niagara Falls.

@michaelshodson — He’s got one foot in the travel blogging world and one out, but Michael is still sharing cool snaps from wherever he is.

@twodrifters — Amy is snapping live from her summer destinations, including my neck of the woods, North Shore Massachusetts!

@dangerousbiz — Amanda is getting into Snapchat and trying new things, like daily travel facts.

@backpackerbrock — Brock shares lots of funny and scenic snaps from his travels, currently at home in Toronto.

@seektheworld — Are you deaf? Can you read sign language? Calvin is snapping and signing from around the world!

@an00ba — Anubha lives on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Follow her for icy, chilly snaps!

@candicewalsh — Candice just moved to Berlin a few days ago and I’m expecting many more crazy Berlin snaps.

@justtravelous — Yvonne is snapping from around Europe, with recent trips to France and Switzerland.

@thetravelbite — Rachelle is brand new to Snapchat, but her video personality is so fun, I know we’re going to see more fun snaps from her.

Kate on Snapchat

The Best Part — Snapchat Birthdays!

Remember when Facebook first came out and everyone was thrilled by how many birthday wishes they got? Facebook has nothing on Snapchat.

I had the most beautiful messages from around the world! People took photos! People drew pictures for me! People made me stuff! Three people even sent me videos of them singing happy birthday! One of them was shirtless! (You know who you are.)

I was touched.

Kate on Snapchat

Don’t miss the boat on Snapchat.

Hey, feel free to do whatever you want. But I think it’s a mistake for you to think that Snapchat is a passing fad. It’s here and it’s going to be here for awhile.

In fact — and this is what I know bloggers and publishers want to know — I was approached for my first paid Snapchat campaign the other day. I turned it down because it wasn’t the right fit for me, but I know it’s only going to grow.

Long may it continue!

Are you on Snapchat? What do you think of it? Share away!

Snapchat: Why It Matters. It's super important for publishers and bloggers!

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123 thoughts on “Why Snapchat Matters”

  1. This is really interesting. I have an account but only 2 people ever send me images and it’s not something that would normally appeal to me. I can’t decide if it will turn out to be a great way of reaching people or just another social media platform I feel constantly guilty for not using frequently enough – but there’s only one way to find out, right?!

  2. Right, Kate – you’ve finally convinced me. I’ve just succumbed and signed up to Snapchat at @ExplorerFlora (and a screenshot of your lovely face is my first attempt at using the thing). Here goes nothing!

  3. Thank you for writing this, this question has been on my mind for a while now! And I agree with every single thing you wrote, but one thing still really pains me….the “disposable content” factor. As a content creator, it’s frustrating to think about spending time on one more thing that will be gone by tomorrow and forever. I know they can be saved but like what would you do with them? Anyway, I see the pros you’ve mentioned greatly outweighing this con in the long run and just like Instagram, perhaps more features are going to be added over time as they already have. I’ll guess it’s time to give The Blonde Gypsy Snapchat a little more love and promotion, thanks for the encouragement 😉

    P.S. Going to follow you now, I’ve only really actively been following/enjoying one person – @mrfh (Facehunter) – and recommend him to everyone who enjoys a good Snap involving international travel.

  4. Loved the article, I’ve actually met Drew (@drewbinsky) this week in Prague and he’s amazing. He wrote a great article about snapchat too if you guys wanna complete your snapchat education 😉
    Loved it all, I agree that Snapchat is the future, kind of. We’re at the phase right before it gets f**ked up I think 😀 and Kate’s snaps are lovely, light and entertaining.

    As for me, I’m in charge of @travelmassive account on snapchat and will appreciate if you add me 😉
    Blonde Czech girl traveling, snapping, swimming on dolphins, as of today also skateboarding and interacting with everyone who snaps me 😉

  5. Yup. Absolutely love snapchat for all of these reasons!
    I kind of hate that third parties are letting people upload all snaps because I don’t want that to become “a thing”. I love that it’s so raw and unedited and people are just naturally themselves! xo

  6. Your snapchat is my absolute favorite! Yours is the one that keeps me coming back and wanting to check in all the time!

    I completely agree with everything you said with it as a platform. I’ve been reading your blog for yearrrrrs but following you on snapchat feels more intimate and I always end up thinking that we’d be friends because our senses of humor are similar!

    I didn’t know what snapchat really was or the point of it for a long time and then your feed really made me see how entertaining and fun it was.

    Your stories are great, I love the way you describe where you are at and the moments you share.

  7. Love the article and actually came to read it because of your post on snapchat! 😀 I have installed Snapchat because of my friend who asked me to although I didn’t want and the first week I didn’t understand WHY DO PEOPLE USE THAT APP!?! 😀 I had problems learning to use it but after a few days I learned and I have been addicted since! It was difficult to find people to follow in the beginning but now I have some and your list adds me quite a massive number of people to follow. I am so excited! I love Snapchat and I wish other people would understand it’s that fun! 😀

  8. I have been following you on snapchat for a while and I love your snaps. I am just getting into snapchat and recently change my settings to let everyone see my snaps. I definitely think snapchat is the future and I love how it shows an unedited verson of travel.

    Keep posting those hilarious snaps of yours! 🙂

    P.s. you can follow me on snapchat @sunshine_lorena

  9. Kate!! You made my DAY by including me!! I absolutely love following you and you’ve sent a few new followers my way already!! SO THRILLED.

    I joined snapchat late in the game but I think it is absolutely the funnest, freshest medium out there, and I honestly prefer it to Facebook and Twitter.

    I look forward to connecting more through our fun stories and following all your adventures. You are so funny and sweet <3


  10. I’m one of your followers Kate, and love watching the story of your day every night before sleep (no creep.)
    I joined recently with my blog What Doesn’t Suck, had a personal account but totally agree with your points.

    @whatdoesntsuck, will snap Dubai (where we live) and France and the US this summer, follow away 🙂

  11. Your timing for this post couldn’t be better! I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to use Snapchat as a social media platform, and now I’ve got a much better idea. I’m not sure if it’s up my alley, but at least now I can make a slightly more informed decision. Thanks!

  12. Thank you for this! I’ve been saying the same thing for awhile now–Snapchat is where its at! It’s HUGE. So many bloggers I talk to are resistant to it for some reason, but I LOVE it and I’m addicted–for all of the reasons you mentioned!

    I love following you (and found this story from your snap), and I pretty much follow everyone you mentioned. I’m more in the lifestyle blogging category myself, but I really love travel bloggers on Snapchat. Y’all can follow me if you like @yagottahave! 🙂

  13. I’ve been using Snapchat personally for ages (thanks to my younger brother, who’s in his early twenties), but this post (plus your snaps) has got me thinking about finally using it for my travel blog!

  14. You are by far my favorite snapchatter ever! You are so real and cool 🙂 I look forward to your snaps and adventures every day.

    Snapchat: americaninwien

  15. Okay, this post just got me SUPER excited for the future of Snapchat! I absolutely love following you and Young Adventuress (currently the only bloggers I follow on Snapchat–I had no idea so many others were on there!)

    In fact, I got SO excited that I went ahead and created a new account just for my blog: WanderinBlonde. Thanks for the push Kate!!

  16. I started snapchat several years ago and got bored with it fast after guys were asking for boob pics and other friends just kept posting snaps of them being totally drunk. Now that I have seen how bloggers are using snaps as behind the scenes I have come back and followed different users. That has made the experience amazing.

    I am also an event promoter and used snapchat to let ppl know where a venue was and then let them know about any last minute changes. Of course I love to party ha ha, my name on all social media platforms is: AllyFiesta

    Thank you for listing travel bloggers to follow. I am in South America now and had no idea how many travel bloggers there were & reading yr blog/seeing snaps helped me not be such a nervous wreck about traveling as a solo female.

  17. I have to say your Snapchat account is one of my absolute favorites :). Also I also love that Snapchat is unfiltered real life, rather than Instagram which has become a series of curated DSLR photos. My account name is ashleyabroad by the way if anyone’s interested in Colorado and life in the mountains! 🙂

  18. Yea ya snapchats rock Kate (minus the makeup tutes haha). Have been having with it the last few weeks, so good to be able to be yourself and not worry about a thing


  19. ummm… thanks, but no thanks.

    I’m too old-fashioned for ALL social networks. I don’t need to be on any of them to be successful. My sites are more than enough. I vowed not to be a part of it and it’s still true after many years.

    There’s a certain unique flare about NOT being visible and available 24/7.. overexposure is not my style.

  20. You are so spot on with this. I’m a 25 year old female and Snapchat is BY FAR my favorite social platform. I visited your site a few times in the past year, but it wasn’t until I followed you on Snapchat that I became a loyal reader and HUGE fan! I signed up for the AK newsletter and now eagerly await new posts. In fact, what brought me to this particular article was one of your snaps this morning!

    Adventurous Kate is truly the highlight of my Snapchat feed. I often watch your stories multiple times–that’s how entertaining they are. I just love seeing you as a real person, in real time, actually *experiencing* places. Beats the carefully curated crap on Instagram any time. Keep it up girl!

  21. Hi Kate,

    I have been following all different snappers since I started snapchat in Spring. I really love how you balance showing your personality and the places you visit without doing one or the other too much.

    I have been snapping for a few month but still struggle to talk with my “phone” in public…of course it’s much easier in less crowed places then my home Berlin. Any advise for being braver?

    Synke (@nsynke)

  22. I was hesitant to even join at first, mostly because I don’t LIKE constantly being “on” and thinking about what I’m going to post to this social channel or that one. But you convinced me!

    I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me when I’m not actually traveling (because I spend more than half my year NOT on the road), but I’ll admit that it IS fun. And I love watching your snaps every day!

  23. Love your snaps, Kate! I resisted joining snapchat for so long, but just started snapping (@wanderthemap) this summer and it’s so addicting! Thanks for the suggestions on people to follow–I found a few new ones I’ll definitely have to add!

  24. I recently got Snapchat myself.. And I agree with you..
    Snapchat is how I am following you and I check in on your life every evening 🙂
    I also follow a few other travelbloggers.

    Unfortunatly I will not be able to use snapchat on my new blog, since I don`t have a phone with internet.
    But I use snapchat to follow, keep updated in my bestfriends life (who lives in other countries) + I got a norwegian bookblog, where I sometime share booktips in my Story for my blog followers.

    Snapchat is perfect for travelbloggers I think 🙂 Look forward to continue following you
    It`s a nice and easy way to follow. When you have a busy daily day. 🙂

  25. Totally thought I was too old to use Snapchat (I am 40). But, after reading this post, I am in. I am leaving for a 3 week trip to the Italy and Greece and what a perfect way for my friends to keep up with me!

  26. God, THANK you for telling me what song that was you were dancing to! I was so sad when that snap went away. Ginuwine, should’ve known…

  27. Thanks for the shout out Kate!! I was soooo against this dang app but you’ve made me see the light!! lol

    Thanks for all the new follows everyone, I aim to keep you entertained!! 🙂 @cailinoneil

  28. you are strongly making me reconsider, kate!

    thanks for your thorough description and opinion of using this social media platform and how it pertains to bloggers! i’ve thought about getting but it does feel like another thing to keep up with but you make it sound like fun so let my reconsidering begin!

  29. i decided to download snap chat because of your post! I probably won’t upload much myself, its more to follow my favourite bloggers on YET ANOTHER platform lol

  30. Very ashamed to say… that my smartphone is too old to install either Snapchat or Periscope.
    I would have gotten on board otherwise, but now it’ll cost me at least €800:/

  31. Yes yes a million times yes!!

    I’m guilty of being one of those people who makes checking snapchat stories part of my morning routine. I only started using the app earlier this year but I’ve come to love it more than any other social media platform. (And I have them all lol…)

    This post has inspired me to switch to my travel blog handle. I followed a few more from your list Kate, and everyone who left their username in the comments! 😀

    I’m @girloutofbounds

  32. Love this! I’ve had a personal snapchat going for about 2 years now, but just a few days ago started up a business one. Perfect timing for this post! Thanks for also adding in some names of people to follow! 🙂 If anyone wants to follow mine, it’s @DanishCanadian

  33. Great post, Kate! I love the way you utilize Snapchat. I think you’re right, this post is going to be a really big deal. I’m snapping from Cape Cod and other places @TransformedThruTravel. Thanks for all the new accounts to check out. =)

  34. Was super excited to read this post when I saw on snapchat this morning that you had posted it! Given the time difference between the two of us at the moment I love that I wake up and I get to watch like 180seconds worth of snaps every morning! It’s like my wake up ritual now.

    I was even more excited to see you had quoted me!

    I’m definitely going to have to start working on my snapchat following!

  35. I’ll be honest, I thought snapchat was super lame the first time I signed up for it. I didn’t know why the hell anyone would want to see a 10 second picture of whatever stupid thing someone was doing. Then I realized I wasn’t following the right people, haha. After watching a few of yours and some from other travel bloggers I follow, I really dig it now. I feel kind of liberated now since I switched my instagram to focus on only my best pictures and I was left with nowhere to post stupid pictures of my dog, haha.

  36. Thanks so much for this – I’ve really wanted to get into Snapchat but I found it so confusing! I put it off for a while but as I’m also part of the vegan and raw food blogging community and Snapchat is HUGE in those circles, I figured I better not miss the boat. I’m still quite confused and don’t really know what I’m doing but every time I see a post like this things get a little clearer. Thanks again! (Oh and I’m @thelostlemurian in case anybody wants to keep helping me out lol).

  37. Love this post! I’m really enjoying following you Europe trip on Snapchat, you’ve made me add so many more places to my travel bucket list! Keep the snaps coming! spinthewindrose.com

  38. Installed today, and funny thing, I forgot to adjust my year of birth so was only to allowed snapchat for kids 🙂 It took me a while to realize where I went wrong. 🙂

  39. Thans for this Kate! I installed it a couple of weeks ago and got confused (Yes I felt old), but decided to get back on it today and I think that’s exactly what I was looking for to share the behind the scenes of it all and be closer to followers. I wanted to vlog for a while, but Snapchat sounds way better.
    Thanks, and if you want to follow a Frenchie in Argentina: @vvagabondages

    1. Hey Lucie,

      You sure can, you simply add them to your story (you get a notification it failed), when you get onto Wi-Fi you simple tap the story to repost it. The 24 hours for the snap showing on your story is from the time the actual snap was taken.
      Hope that makes sense!

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