Time to lose the streak

Streaks on the social media site Snapchat ultimately have no value

Junior+Avery+Blaire+and+Senior+Taylor+Valenta+take+a+selfie+on+Snapchat+using+the+dog+filter.+This+snap+was+taken+to+fulfill+one+in+a+long+line+of+meaningless+streaks.+

Annika Pepper

Junior Avery Blaire and Senior Taylor Valenta take a selfie on Snapchat using the dog filter. This snap was taken to fulfill one in a long line of meaningless streaks.

Saijleen Chawla, Staff Writer

When anyone sends me a Snapchat that’s simply a black screen with the word “streak,” a simple “s” drawn, or a picture of some random inanimate object with no context, I have to restrain myself from just sending them “NO” in all caps.

Snapchat offers a new type of communication in which people can have conversations using selfies and other pictures. I absolutely love the ability to send my own face as a message because facial expressions can’t be replaced by emojis or even bitmojis.  

[L]ess than half of these streaks are with people that you actually talk to in person or would remain in touch with without that streak.”

— Staff Writer Saijleen Chawla

However, Snapchat “streaks,” the amount of consecutive days two users have messaged each other, don’t have the same value. Streaks don’t utilize the wonder of an interesting picture, and, in most streaks, no one takes the time to send a picture of themselves. Personally, a meme with no context would do just as well, maybe even better than a picture of the commonly known “ceiling fan.” At least memes are a relatively enjoyable way to waste time.

I’ve noticed many Snapchat users boast about the amount of streaks that they have and how long they’ve held a streak. I often hear someone gripe about how a peer has a longer streak with another person.

The thinking is that the more streaks you have, the more credible you are in the social hierarchy. But less than half of these streaks are with people that you actually talk to in person or would remain in touch with without that streak.

I know I’ve lost many streaks that I didn’t even know were gone until a sudden realization weeks later. The person was simply not important or close enough for me to care.  For me, there really wasn’t any reason to sulk about those lost streaks, seeing that I didn’t even notice. I might have talked to those people once in my life, and somehow we randomly had a streak going.

If streaks don’t actually define a friendship, there must be something else that makes them seem so important. There are cases of best friends in real life breaking up because of a lost streak, for it is a known fact that starting a streak with a person you actually care about signifies a commitment.

Streaks that have 150 days are more valuable than streaks of 10 days, causing pressure to slowly increase more and more along with the number.  Many people don’t even know why they keep steaks, yet they can’t dream of losing them. This fear is very unhealthy mentally because it can develop into a form of anxiety that further attaches a person to their phone.

We choose to remain virtually oppressed, but we must realize that we can break out of it…”

— Staff Writer Saijleen Chawla

I used to find myself dreading the hourglass symbol meaning there was a streak that I was about to lose. I was severely mistaken for taking it so seriously because it caused me unneeded stress over something laughable.

When I lost a streak, I used to believe that it was completely my fault, and the other person would cease the relationship in real life with me as well. I admit that I may have taken streaks much more seriously than what was healthy.

At some point, I decided that the self blame was utterly irrational and ended streaks with all but four special people. These people I don’t send streaks to, but I talk to them every day, and we respond back and forth.

This way, I utilize the full conversation potential given to me by Snapchat that other social media platforms don’t have. The ability to send selfies as a conversation and give true reactions to comments is so much more of an improvement to conventional texting, and I believe that is what really improves the quality of friendships.

Unfortunately, Snapchat for most of its users continues to decrease the value of friendships by using streaks, because “[streaks] gamify friendships so that the whole point of having [friends in real life] is lost,” English teacher Dr. Lela Crowder said.

The pressure of streaks has turned people into emotionless robots whose lives revolve around their phones. Streaks do not have to remain a daily routine. It may be difficult to break long streaks that may have lasted for more than a year, but it’s now or never. We choose to remain virtually oppressed, but we must realize that we can break out of it, these streaks being part of it.

Many students believe the higher the streak number, the closer the friend is to you. I don’t think people will remember you by the number that was slapped onto your friendship. They’ll remember you by the memories made together.