What Losing A Snap Streak Has Taught Me About The Loss Of My Best Friend

What Losing A Snap Streak Has Taught Me About The Loss Of My Best Friend

I woke up to a missing streak icon next to her name. It must be a mistake, I thought. There's no way.

On April 4, 2017, at 11:37 p.m. EST, my best friend and I lost our 15 day snapstreak.

My best friend and I first met at 11 and 12 year old respectively, and I knew I never wanted to cross paths with her again after we had an awkward, embarrassing in the kind of I-want-to-melt-into-the-floor-right-now moment with ramen noodles. Unfortunately, my mom had other plans. Despite the fact we live over 30 minutes away, only see each other once every couple of months and naturally became best friends over time because I became close with her older sister first, Nabila and I fostered a bond through years of Starbucks frappes, puberty pains and gains, bittersweet memories and inside desi jokes at parties.

Just to be clear, Nabila and I are not exclusively best friends. I don't mope around when we miss our scheduled meet up on campus in between college classes, but I do scour the interwebs and at least six different department stores on a biyearly basis, mulling over which brand name handbag and pair of sunglasses to gift her with on her wedding day. Sometimes I feel like we skipped over the line of friendship entirely and just bowled our way into the best non-related cousin-you-barely-see-but-love-to-bits-and-pieces lane. We don't even share the same hobbies for the most part, yet this is exactly why it works.

No matter what the other is currently obsessed with or wants to do, we will always give in to each other, supportively (and a little bit judgmentally) coming along for the ride. I can whine and complain all I want about how much a certain film sucks or why I don't want to try baking my undereyes, but at the end of the day, I'll still be nestled in her fuzzy throw blanket at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night sleepover, watching said movie while getting my undereyes baked (which yes, did make me look like a ghost, but it also did work so fine, I admit it, you were right). We may appear and function like a noncommittal best friendship, but we're always there for each other during the ups and downs, creating the moments we have together instead of letting fate, destiny, chance or whatever play it out.

That's why when we managed to hold a five day snapstreak last year, I was surprisingly pleased by our unexpected accomplishment. But I didn't think much of it — not even when we managed a 10 day snapstreak during the last few months of 2016, because Nabila and I, we've just never dedicated ourselves to each other like that. Things changed when she went on vacation to her motherland for a couple of weeks. Maybe it was the total time change or maybe it was the freedom she had with her time, but somehow, we maintained a strong 15 day streak — one I had begun to invest my time, effort and hope in for perhaps a 30 day goal at least.

Every snap was a thought she had in the moment — a new snack she was addicted to, angled pics of the netting around the bedspread, stores she visited, people she coerced into taking selfies with her and 2:30 a.m. EST snap of "I miss you, too," [crying emjoi]. Around day 10, we noticed the streak and sent mutual "Snap streak ayyy" snaps to one another. I halved my response time, sending pics of my carpeting as background and typing short hashtag texts about the latest political events going on at home. She sent back snaps of her horrified expression, declaring she was going to move to Canada for good. I sent a thumbs up, "good plan," and shot her a snap of the percentage of taxes American citizens relocating to Canada must pay. That's put a hold on our Canada plan... for now.

Then after day 15, I woke up to a missing streak icon next to her name. It must be a mistake, I thought. There's no way. I had responded twice yesterday, during the day and night in case Snapchat updated our snap records differently based on the conflicting time zones. Had she responded? Maybe she opened it and forgot to respond. My Snapchat didn't work properly after that. I received snaps, but couldn't open them despite cleaning my junk files and deleting 23 photos. The stories wouldn't even show anymore, and a weekend trip to the lake never made it on my Snapchat story despite my x-finity Wi-Fi, data use and reuploads. It was no use, I couldn't get in touch with her. I could text her, but it just wouldn't be the same. So I waited. I waited for my phone to go back to normal, for us to brush off this loss and have another go at maintaining a snapstreak.

But after three days of on-and-off snap activity, I deleted the app.

The following hours felt like a dream, standing in the shower with rainy mood on a 10 hour loop on my phone, the scent of rain-scented candles mixing with the spray of hot water fogging up the mirror, perspiration sliding down the tiles, tears leaking from the corners of my eyes. Thoughts swirled around in my head and drained into the pit of my stomach. Did she snap anyone else that day? Was that you-share-a-best-friend emoji there all that time for that very reason? Should I have seen this coming? I mean, who did we think we were... that we could grow beyond this noncommittal best friendship stage into something more serious.

How could we, when in the midst of that, all we had come to care about was the snapstreak? Had the nonsensical back-and-forth snaps been more work than play? More about holding a score than maintaining a friendship?

Our friendship has never been a frenzy of social media exchange, flaring like a fire and then going out when the match burns through. Rather, it's like the tug and pull of waves, flowing back to the ocean after a brief solitary moment on land. And I've started to think, I'm okay with that. It's okay that we aren't attached by the hip or super in-sync. It's okay that we can go days without texting eachother, and it's okay we can't maintain more than 15 day snapstreak. It's okay that we have to make time and space in our lives to keep each other there, because at the end of the day, whether she calls me up or I leave a voice recording or we meet up in person, what matters is that she and I are there — rooting for one another even when we can't always be physically or virtually there to do it.

And that is how our best friendship pulsates, in between that breath of space it takes for the waves to crash onto the shore and sweep across land back to the sea.

Disclaimer: This is meant to be dramatic and satirical.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Not All Video Gamers Are Introverts Who Refuse To Recognize The Real World

Some of my best friendships manifested through gaming.

If someone was to tell you about an activity that involves a dedicated community as well as other aspects including teamwork, communication, and practice, your mind would automatically convince you that the activity being discussed is something along the line of sports.

Of course, these characterizations do describe the necessary components to be successful in an activity like a sports, but they also describe something else that can often have a bad reputation but is certainly underrated – video games.

As children, our parents insisted that video games promoted laziness, loneliness, and in some cases could even lead to violent behavior. Many people that play video games are often stereotyped as introverted individuals unable to connect with the outside world.

Being one who has played numerous games for the majority of my life, this is simply not the case.

I began playing video games around the time that I received my first PlayStation 1 in elementary school. These games, now basically unplayable with the implementation of improved graphic display and enhanced response time, consisted of Crash Bandicoot and Pong that I often played with my sister and neighborhood friends.

A few years later with the PlayStation 2, I became a member of a band that consisted of a few of my best friends, my sister, and my mother. The games were Rockband and Guitar Hero that brought us all together each weekend to hone in on our talents.

The most influential piece of technology during my youth was no other than the Xbox 360. The platform it provided was Xbox Live, a way to communicate with others also playing Xbox as well as the ability to have private parties where friends could come together and chat using a headset.

From around seventh grade to the middle of high school, some of the best friends I will ever have were made through experiences on this console playing a number of games including Call of Duty and FIFA.

Around this same time, I became addicted to a new and flourishing concept on YouTube – livestreaming video games. The concept was enormously enhanced and gained popularity with the help of a man named Felix Kjellberg, better known as his online alias Pewdiepie.

Every night, I laid in bed and watched the games he played that seemed to bring me almost more joy than playing the games myself which was also evident by the community that he was able to establish.

Although his YouTube channel is no longer based off of solely gaming, he still remains a controversial public figure on the internet amassing 60 million subscribers on YouTube, an accomplishment no other has even come close to reaching.

In the first paragraph, I discussed characterization including teamwork and practice and how this applies to video games similar to the way it applies to sports. This comes from the now burgeoning gaming league known as eSports. Similar to organized sports such as basketball or soccer, eSports gives serious gamers the opportunity to showcase their talents in competitive video games from first-person shooters such as Call of Duty to battle arena games such as League of Legends or Dota.

Taking up much of the questionnaire surrounding the eSports community is how much money a player or team makes upon winning a tournament or online league and the answer can be up to millions.

This concept of competitive gamers making this much money is often under fire as people can’t seem to grasp the idea of people making money from simply playing video games. One of the main advocates for competitive gaming comes from a member of the Boston Celtics NBA team named Gordon Hayward who began playing games competitively around the same time he began to be recruited for college basketball. He even went on Collin Cowherd to help eliminate the stereotype of professional gamers as they are often perceived.

It isn’t difficult to understand. If a person is great at something, whether it be sports, acting, managing, or even video games, why shouldn’t they be paid for it? The perception that a gamer is one that sits alone in their room to isolate themselves from the outside world is preposterous in almost every case and is a stereotype that I hope is eliminated. Video games have created communities for many that have felt out of place with similar interests as well as provided a platform for many to make a living out of.

Some of my best friendships manifested through gaming, and this is the case for millions of others.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @geeksandgamer

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Why Is GoPro So Special?

New Technology

Nick Woodman, the founder and inventor of GoPro launched the revolutionary company back in 2002. Just 12 years later, GoPro will be filing for an IPO worth around $100 million.

What makes GoPro so special and why are the implications so significant?

For those unfamiliar with GoPro Cameras, they are small headphones that can be held using a camera pod or strapped to your helmet. Adventure enthusiasts, tourists, and casual people are all fans.

In fact, there are countless similarities between Apple’s iPod and GoPro’s cameras. Both were revolutionary instruments, simple products, and loved by casual and professional users. This seems to be the ingredient for a successful technology, consumer-based product these days.

In general, GoPro’s unique hook comes from its simple build. The micro-cameras are convenient and functionally addictive. Not only that, but everyone’s using them, and there is nothing like real product validation when your consumers are advocating your product through the vast universe of social media.

Social networking has only increased the universal nature of panoramic, landscape, and self-imposed images. Moreover, elementary school children and even senior citizens often use social platforms to publically display images to their social networks. This only allows the rapid popularity of the company to further rise among all demographics.

But is the price justified?

On paper, it all seems to make sense. According to GoPro’s S-1 documents with the SEC, 2013 revenue was $985.7M, which is roughly an 87% improvement from the year prior. Their financial growth is extremely impressive and they are already making roughly 4 million units this year.

As such, the $100M IPO seems reasonable, considering that most technology and consumer groups who have gone public near this selling range are not nearly as profitable. Keep in mind that most companies who sell at this range are in debt and do not have profitable net income. Investors are mainly focusing on the potential and expected growth of the company. In a sense, it is a huge risk to invest in those types of companies. However, GoPro seems to be much different and other investors, such as Redbull, agree that this is a company worth watching.

Cover Image Credit: PBS

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