Updated: Sep 21, 2020
By Christina Colwell
Good morning streaks.
Don’t hit me up streaks.
Streaks. A central feature in one of the most popular social media platforms of all time—Snapchat. This app has unique ways of communicating with its ability to send text-like messages and photos (known as snaps). Here’s what makes Snapchat different:
The app revolves around this concept of auto-deletion, meaning that once a snap is opened by the receiver, it vanishes.
All snaps sent and received are totaled into an openly displayed number called one’s “Snap-score”.
Snapchat uses a mathematical formula to generate a “Best Friends List”, creating a hierarchy of friends based on who is most frequently contacted.
Streaks are formed after sending direct snaps for consecutive days; the streak day-count is shown next to the contact name.
The last one is key—streaks are one of Snapchat’s most addictive features. Streaks have evolved into a pedestal of one’s social status and standing within a community. The larger the streak, the cooler you get. Having a long streak with someone is something we’d consider a flex—that’s why our generation deliberately brandishes their streak status like it’s a trophy. Snapchat thrives off of the superficial nature of today’s youth, eating up the shallowness of modern values. Snapchat created this realm where one’s snap-score and streak have more value than the genuine relationships built, allowing them to grow their platform by exploiting common human insecurities: the desire to be wanted, the urge to belong, and the comfort of friends. Snapchat substitutes authenticity for the pretense of sincerity, so it’s important that we recognize this warped view of friendship and not fall for the deception.
When inserting a screen into communication, all responsibility is lost. Accountability for one’s words is rarely upheld. Many feel an unjustly heightened confidence when behind a screen and say things they would never think of saying in person. This physical distance that occurs during mediated communication must be considered. The authenticity of relationships online must be questioned. The ability to lie and be untrue is overwhelmingly present. A study conducted by the Journal of Social Media in Society showed that current Snapchat users value their online friendships more than face-to-face ones. This finding is an extreme contrast to life even a decade ago. Social life has undergone extreme change since the introduction of social media. Snapchat creates a platform where relationships form more rapidly than in person. The time it takes for an acquaintance to become a friend is exponentially increased on Snapchat. This causes a distorted perception of “more friends” and the want to continue forming these types of easy yet toxic relationships. In fact, a survey showed that a majority of users sought after online likeableness rather than personal likeableness. Think about this: our generation, the generation of technological innovations, is prioritizing our online appearance more than our genuine reputation, sacrificing our mental health all the whole.That statement further proves how superficial our society is becoming, yet conforming to this norm can be prevented.
Use Snapchat wisely! Snapchat is a great platform to maintain and strengthen existing friendships, communicate with the use of facial context, send uplifting messages, and share funny photos with a “filters” feature. Only partake in dialogue with people you know. Keep yourself safe and do not share or expose personal information. Be careful in making sure that the app is not your only source of social interaction, you are more than a person behind a screen. Don't rely on the platform of social media, rather utilize your own voice when in conversation. Social interaction is so important in the upkeep of one’s mental wellbeing, and I urge you to not let social media be the only source of this.
Many studies search to shed light on the current opinions of online relationships, but one has yet to discover the long term effects due to the newness of this notion. If a study were to indulge in this concept, it would prove that the depth and complexity of online relationships are truly fictitious and do not last when looking on a larger time period scale. Social media most definitely has its benefits, but this is not without weighing the disadvantages it presents. So maybe it is time to say goodnight to streaks and hello to authentic relationships.
Clemets, Chris, “Snapchat’s Ability to Build and Maintain Friendships” (2016). Theses,Dissertations & Honors Papers. Paper 393.
Velten, J., & Arif, R. (2016). The Influence of Snapchat on Interpersonal
RelationshipDevelopment and Human Communication. Journal of Social Media in
Society, 5(2), 5-34. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from