5 ways to find useful Snapchat accounts to follow as a journalist

Snapchat book cover

This post is an extract from the book Snapchat for Journalists

Finding Snapchat accounts to follow is harder than it needs to be. There are some directories, such as Snapcodes, but these rely on user submissions. The iPhone app GhostCodes also ‘curates’ lists of accounts by category, but also relies on users giving their own usernames.

You can find some articles highlighting interesting accounts to follow on Snapchat. One useful search phrase to use for finding those is this:

Here are 4 useful techniques for tracking them down.

Method 1: The advanced search

The most obvious approach is to look for some articles highlighting interesting accounts to follow on Snapchat. You can narrow this a little by using search operators like allintitle: (which restricts results to those where the words are in the page title).

One useful search phrase to use with this is:

allintitle:snapchat list

You can add more keywords to narrow further. But you’ll notice the results are swamped with celebrity fluff.

If you want to exclude those, use the minus operator (again without a space) like so:

allintitle:snapchat list -celebrities -celeb -celebrity -celebs

Even then however, the quality of those articles varies widely: partly because often they are merely lists of who is using Snapchat at that time rather than people who are using it well, and partly because articles date quickly: organisations and individuals can stop updating their Snapchat accounts.

Method 2: Searching within Twitter lists

A better technique is to search for people posting about their latest Snapchat stories on social media platforms like Twitter.

Obviously a general search will get you lots of updates from people of no interest to you. So a useful technique is to use advanced search operators on Twitter to limit your search to people mentioning their Snapchat account on a particular Twitter list: for example a list of accounts in an area, field, or social circle.

To restrict search results to a list, add the operator list: to your search, and then, after that, the URL of the Twitter list without any space. For example, if I wanted to limit results to members of my Twitter list called ‘Birmingham’, I would put this search into Twitter’s search box:

snapchat list:paulbradshaw/Birmingham

Searching for Snapchat in a Twitter list

Method 3: Searching within Twitter biographies

A third method, if you do not want to limit results to members of a list, is to use tools like Followerwonk’s bio search to search Twitter biographies.

Snapchat search on Followerwonk

Followerwonk is just one of the ways to find users mentioning their snapchat account in their bio

Above, for example, is a screenshot showing some of the results for a search for Twitter accounts with ‘snapchat’ and ‘news’ in the bio:

Method 4: Searching for ‘add me’ messages

This one comes from my Online Journalism student Barbara Maseda:

When you tap “Share username” in Snapchat it automatically generates a text that includes this:

Add me on Snapchat! Username: …

So if you do a search for specific terms like "Add me on Snapchat! Username" + journalist (or reporter, or news, etc.) you’ll get links to Snapchat usernames only.

For example, if you google the first option – “Add me on Snapchat! Username” + journalist – you get some 22,700 results:

google search snapchat usernames

And if you exclude the results from Twitter accounts from that search, then you get some 1,140 results:

google search snapchat -twitter

When Twitter results are excluded you are left with around 1000 results

For those people not covered by the Twitter methods above, this might get you some extra results…

Method 5: The alert

Finally, you might want to set up a Google Alert or a Tweetdeck or Hootsuite search for ‘incredible Snapchat’ or a similar superlative, so you are alerted to interesting uses of the platform outside of your usual circles.

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