By Elena Ender

I am not an avid Snapchat user. I follow exactly 23 people, three of whom I am related to. A typical snap from me would be a picture of a passage from a book with a strange or awkwardly-phrased sentence underlined in the automatic red pen and the word “same” typed underneath it. My timer is set to eight seconds.

I have friends who post constantly and know what they’re doing. They use the newest filters as well as the basic dog filter to keep it classic, minimalist. They write effortless, culturally relevant captions underneath their daily events. It’s intimidating as hell.

Now, I like Snapchat. It’s clever and fun and is enjoying its time on top as other social media platforms try to imitate it. Instagram is adjusting by adding “stories,” and it’s fine. We all still like Instagram. Facebook is creating a new copycat photo-with-filters messaging option, and it’s awkward. I’m done with Facebook, you’re done with Facebook, our moms are screaming about how stupid “Carol from the bank” is on Facebook; we just need to move on.

Snapchat is working out their kinks and constantly changing their look in order to keep people interested. They try something new and innovative, and if people hate it, they change it. If people love it, they expand on it.

In order to stay somewhat caught-up, I do my research. Mostly, I turn to BuzzFeed or my friend Mary. APU junior biology major Mary Osire is a YouTuber and is very hip. She is incredibly patient when I ask her about the pop culture goings-on.

“I use Snapchat every single day. I post almost everyday, but if not, I watch other people’s stories…I follow about 110 people or so. Probably about 30 or 40 of them are celebrities,” Osire said. “I get my news updates by going online and looking at the front page of Yahoo, or by looking at the News notifications from the app that comes with my iPhone.”

While that seems simple enough, she always seems to be ahead of the game.

“The most recent update I’m aware of is that you can upload pictures and videos from your camera roll or from Snapchat Memories,” Osire explained.

Before this, I had never used Memories and wasn’t really aware of what it did exactly. Apparently you can also save your favorite photos directly on the app instead of saving them to your camera roll. Somehow this makes our lives easier.

“I like this because if I decide I want to post something later, I can do that now,” Osire continued.

This seems to take the spontaneity out of Snapchat. I feared that people would stop posting ridiculous halfway-decent (as opposed to completely decent) photos and make it more polished and Instagram-like. The playing field would be even more uneven for people like me.

However, Osire assured me that Snapchat’s more casual vibe isn’t dead. “In a way it does feel like I have more freedom on Snapchat… I feel like I kind of post silly things on Snapchat whereas Instagram is a little more serious and is for nicer photos,” Osire said.

Another big change that’s still relatively recent is the end of autoplay. Basically, you don’t have to watch someone’s story if you don’t feel like it, unlike before when you’d click to see your best friend’s cat then be stuck watching the next few stories. You could even develop a kind of carpal tunnel in your index finger from tapping your way through Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz’s 180-second snap story.

During the autoplay days, could you swipe the story away? Yes. But did that still leave you open to accidentally view your ex’s story when you want to make a point to not see it? Yes. Now without autoplay, you select whose story you want to view then move on with your life. It’s revolutionary.

The one update I’d appreciate is bringing back the spooky flower crown permanently. Osire, however, has an actually legitimate update suggestion. “If I could fix anything, it would be the lagging camera,” Osire said. “It’s pretty annoying how it doesn’t start actually recording until a second after holding down the record button, because sometimes the best part of the video is missed.”

To whom it may concern, get on that.

And while I lack Snapchat wisdom to bless you with, Osire shared a trick that is certainly helpful when you have no service or are low on battery.

“Have your phone on airplane mode, record on Snapchat like normal and post to your story when you get service or Wi-Fi,” Osire said. “Although it’s going to say that it failed to actually post onto your story, it will show up as a video under your story, so afterward when you turn off airplane mode, you can just press “Tap to Retry” and it will be posted!”

So go forth and be equipped to snap with greater Snapchat-savvy than I am!