At the end of 2017, Snapchat announced the creation of a new feature that allows users to discover and utilize thousands of different lenses aka “Snap-filters” within the application. This feature has now been publicly released, and thousands of user-created lenses can found in the new “Lens Explorer” section of Snapchat. These community lenses can be applied to any snap, sent to friends or groups, and posted to your personal story.
Prior to the explorer feature being introduced, a platform was created to allow the Snapchat community to create their own lenses. This platform is called the Lens Studio and has been used to create over 100,000 unique filters. However, these lenses were not initially available to the general public.
Before the Lens Explorer feature was added, users wanting to use community created lenses would need a unique “snapcode” to unlock a lens for a limited period of 24-hours (see figure 1). Now, anyone can easily search for, find, and unlock thousands of filters. This addition to the app will increase the exposure lens creators will receive and open up more possibilities for user creativity within Snapchat. A spokesperson from the company even noted that “Making Community Lenses more prominent within the app is just the latest way we’re excited to be investing the creator community.”
Figure 1 – Unlocking Lenses Prior to the Lens Explorer
To locate the Lens Explorer within Snapchat, simply open the app, tap on the capture screen to bring up the “Lens Carousel” of filter options, and look for the new icon on the bottom of the screen to the right next to the “X” that closes the carousel (see Figure 2). This will pull up the Lens Explorer page and allow you to search for and chose from all available lenses. Once you find one you like, tap it to unlock the lens for yourself.
Figure 2 – Using the New Lens Explorer in Snapchat
It will be interesting to see how individuals will use and create media with community filters. Additionally, businesses may also decide to utilize this new feature for marketing and branding purposes within the app. All-in-all, the possibilities are endless, so get Snapping!