The One Snapchat Feature that is Frustratingly Clever

Someone is typing? Thanks for letting me know.

Joe McCormick


Image: Author.

I don’t like Snapchat.

The only reason why I have it installed on my phone in the first place is because my fellow university friends insist it’s the best way of communicating with each other. But, if our group chats were held on another platform, you bet the photo-sharing app would be deleted from my phone as soon as possible.

In my experience, everything I can do on Snapchat can be done easily on another form of social media. Furthermore, it is tedious to be constantly saving messages in order for them not to be automatically deleted after 24-hours. After five years of use, I still struggle to see the point of the platform.

However, there is one feature on Snapchat that sets it apart from their competition; a feature that is easily overlooked, but is sneakily executed to encourage you to spend time you never intended to spend on their app.

The Typing Indicator

Out of all the messaging apps I use (including Facebook Messenger, Instagram, iMessage and WhatsApp), Snapchat is the only platform that sends two notifications for every message you receive. Whenever one of your contacts starts typing, you will be immediately alerted with the famous Snapchat ‘ping’ sound to alert you that said person is typing, followed by another a couple of seconds later when the message has finally been sent.

It is totally unnecessary, frustratingly spammy, but admittedly clever.

When you are in a group chat, your notifications are doubled if the gap between messages is long enough. If three people are having a discussion, but it takes a couple of minutes for them to respond, your phone is going to be buzzing in two-notification increments until it frustrates you to the point of cracking.

The time between the initial ‘X is typing…’ notification and the ‘from X’ alert is also a key way of persuading the user to open their app. For instance, if there are five seconds between those notifications, it isn’t unfair to assume that the other person has sent you a sentence or two. However, if there is a three-minute gap between messages, then get your reading glasses out…



Joe McCormick

Joe McCormick is a 21-year old journalist, writer, podcast host, radio show host and content creator that writes about Formula 1 and his other interests.