The word once primarily served to describe long, thin marks of colors in descriptive passages of novels, like “streaks of sun-kissed brown in her hair,” or “streaks of dried blood covering his face.” But today, the word, without any context, could be noted as a significant sign of friendship and acknowledgement between two people. This redefinement of the word “streak” is a significant part of the immense popularity of the social media application, Snapchat, and its development over the past few years.
|Screenshot of a user’s snapchat screen showing streaks: The numbers on each of the rows represent the number of days that the streak with the corresponding friend (names are blurred for privacy) has been alive for. For instance, the “191” means that the streak has been going on for 191 days.|
Snapchat, first of all, is a social media platform that is widely popular among the young teen generation of today. The application is mainly for users to send each other pictures and videos that disappear after a certain number of seconds. Now, in Snapchat’s update to Snapchat 2.0, the application added a feature to its platform: the “Snapstreak.”
Snapstreaks, or just “streaks,” are a type of challenge for the users. To put it simply, two people have a “streak” on snapchat if they have been sending each other at least one snap for a consecutive number of days. The objective of this “streak” is to try to keep it up for a long time--some users have streaks that have been ongoing for a few years. This new feature to Snapchat is what makes the application so addicting for many users; they are forced to send snaps every single day to keep up the streaks.
The question is, then, why do users even try to keep streaks? What’s the point? There seems to be an unspoken rule among friends on Snapchat: that a streak represents dedication in a relationship or a close friendship in general. Even though many users don’t exactly agree with this notion, they find that breaking a streak can be irritating because it is like wasting the effort they have put into keeping the streak alive. Furthermore, some users take the breaking of streaks personally--they become worried that their friend no longer cares about them, or that their friendship means not much to the friend. In other words, keeping a streak alive could be an annoying, but unavoidable burden for some who don’t feel it’s necessary, but still do not want to disappoint their friends or themselves.
“Honestly, I feel that streaks are kind of useless. I don’t think streaks are a good representation of how great of a friend someone is or how many friends someone has. Also, it’s kind of useless when people send a blank screen captioned ‘streak’ just to keep the streak up. That misses the whole point of Snapchat, which is to communicate with pictures and captions actually showing something,” said Kate Lee, a Snapchat user with streaks. “But then again, I get frustrated when I lose a streak I had for a while, and I think that’s why people try to keep streaks.”
|Picture of a blank snapchat captioned “streak” : This is an example of a snap that was sent to keep up a streak--as Kate mentioned, it only says “streak” and does not communicate much content.|
On the other hand, some users seem to have a positive opinion on this trend of streaks. They feel that keeping a streak with a friend living in a different country allows them to keep in touch more easily. Moreover, some users believe that streaks are an easy way to keep a relationship intact and alive--it doesn’t require much thought or time, but still indicates that the user cares enough to send a picture to his or her friend.
“I don’t really have a problem with streaks. They’re easy to keep, since you really only need to take a picture and click sends to the people you have streaks with. So it’s not like it takes much time or effort,” said Justin Ro, another Snapchat user with streaks. “I mean, streaks can keep you close in touch with your friends and even loved ones. So I send a picture every day to keep the streaks up.”
But what most users agree upon is that streaks are popular and addicting--they’re a feature binding users to the unbreakable attraction of Snapchat.
“I never really think about why I keep streaks. I just do it,” said Kate. “I mean, I guess that’s kind of just what streaks are. Whether you like it or not, you… just do it.”
Eju Ro email@example.com
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