It is a common thing nowadays to have “streaks” with your friends on Snapchat. Snapchat is a great way for people to stay connected, see what’s going on in someone’s life and to send fun photos.
However, streaks have become a very strange phenomenon. In case you have not yet mastered the world of Snapchat, a streak is a feature of Snapchat that keeps track of how many days people have continuously sent photos to each other. People will keep up a streak for 100 days, or even 1,000. In a sense, this seems like a powerful way to connect with others for long periods of time, but if you take a closer look, it’s honestly a bit strange. Sure, these people are connecting for that many days, but what are they sending? Oftentimes, people send all of their streaks the same picture, and that is the only communication they will have at all that day. The next day, this action is repeated. This will go on for as long as the two people continue to Snapchat each other every day. Even worse, some people simply send a blank screen every day. What is the point of this? Streaks are one of the oddest cultural norms I have ever encountered in my life. If someone knows that they are not going to have their phone for a weekend, they will go as far as to give their password to someone so that they don’t lose their streaks. I just do not think it’s ever that serious. I personally am awful at keeping them and people often ask me why I lose my streaks so often. Perhaps it is because I do not see the point in sending empty, meaningless blank screens to people I barely speak to. Why keep a 700 day streak with someone you have not spoken to in a year? What is the point? Perhaps it is the comfort of knowing that as long as you keep that little number and flame emoji by their name, they will still be connected to you in some way. In my opinion, this is not what a connection should be.
We have reduced our friendships by sending a quick picture once or twice a day, it is so impersonal. We feel like we are keeping up with our friends because we watch their story, like their pictures or retweet their tweets. Something invented to bring people together seems to be pulling them further apart, making their relationships surface level and empty. Maybe we can be the ones to break the streak of impersonal connection by actually talking to our friends. Instead of sending your best friend a blank screen today, try sending them a text asking how they are doing. Better yet, go talk to them in real life. It’s not hard to make your relationships personal again, it just takes an awareness of the issue at hand and a willingness to bring real human connections back into the world.
It only takes a small change in your daily routine to make a big difference, so consider putting down the phone for a day and remembering what is really important rather than what society says is important.