Snapchat is the new Facebook. This app, predominantly used by people ages 13 to 30, allows users to take a picture, insert a caption and filters, and send it to their friends on the app. Unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, there’s no definite user profile. Your pictures do not stay on your timeline indefinitely; in fact, there is no timeline. Additionally, nobody can like your pictures nor can anyone follow you, so what defines if someone is popular or active on Snapchat?
Hence came the streak.
A Snapchat streak is when two users send direct snaps back and forth to each other for several consecutive days. The longer they do this, the higher the streak number will be.
While it sounds pointless, many people put in a lot of work to keeping streaks alive. There’s nothing more devastating than watching a streak you’ve put your heart and soul into, break. You’ve lost the will to start over, especially if you and your friend are attempting a streak for the fifth time.
And then came the mass streak.
I’ll admit, I have a lot of streaks with people on my Snapchat, so I do send out a daily mass picture to all of them. However, I always make sure to make them interesting, whether it’s testing out new filters, trying to think of a funny caption, or just goofy selfies. Yet what do I usually receive in return? A black picture with the caption “streakkkkkkkkkkk”. If that’s all you’re going to send me every single day, we might as well not have a streak. It’s almost as if people treat streaks as a chore and to make their friends know they’re only sending them a picture as an obligation.
However, streaks can be a proof of friendship or an easier way to introduce yourself to someone. Like that cute guy in your history class. If you “accidentally” start a streak with him, you have an excuse to send him a glamorous picture of you every single day and hope he returns the favor. If your streak breaks, he might find it weird if you randomly sent him pictures, and even worse, you can’t brag to your friends about how close you and Cute Guy from History Class are.
Others might feel that streaks are a way of defining popularity. Since there are no followers or likes on Snapchat, streaks could be a way of showing how many people someone talks to. Someone might look at your phone and see all your streaks and be impressed. Or they might really not care. It’s a hit or miss.
Many treat streaks as a commitment. If you keep up the communication, you might even become better friends with that person, and the streak snaps might even turn into personal snaps along the way.
Sometimes, we go on vacation with no service, misplace our phones, or do not have access to Snapchat. Users often give a close friend their Snapchat password to send out their daily streaks, which might seem like an overreaction, but like I said before: nobody wants to see the number 400 go all the way down to 0. It’s like typing a nine-page essay, but then your computer crashes and you have to start all over if you even have the energy (this has actually happened to me before and it was absolutely awful).
Overall, I believe most people view Snapchat streaks as a way to measure how long they have been talking to someone, or simply a way to talk to as many of your Snapchat friends as possible. It is one of Snapchat’s most popular features, but ultimately, having a personal, face-to-face conversation is always better. A streak is just a number next to a friend’s name and each person can decide how much it matters to him or her.