“Wow, you have so many streaks,” a comment that many people would utter upon getting a glimpse of my Snapchat screen.
It’s no exaggeration when I say that I had a Snapchat streak with anyone who was willing. I had streaks with all my housemates, my course mates, my sister, my mum, and even, rather bizarrely, my mum’s boss (hi, Michele!).
It wasn’t just streaks with which I became obsessed, it was Snapchat itself. Every time I ate anything that I deemed slightly interesting (Coco Pops, Pringles, a sandwich – things that my friends may not have seen before) or stumbled across a quote I liked in a book, I would snap it. And let’s not forget the ritual that became a vital part of my morning routine – checking out the new daily filter. A good filter was the sign of a good day to come.
Snapchat began to feel like a burden, another thing on my long list of responsibilities
However, this began to change recently. Maybe it was the universally hated update or the mounting university work of a second-year student knocking Snapchat down my list of priorities, but snapping my friends, and maintaining those all-important streaks, went from being fun to an annoying chore. Out were the days of endless frivolous snaps, and in were the days of blurry panic-snaps when I suddenly remembered those damn streaks.
Snapchat began to feel like a burden, another thing on my long list of responsibilities. I had essays to amend, seminars to attend, and snaps to send. I was a slave to those tiny burning fire emojis next to my friends’ names, and thus a slave to Snapchat.
I’d kept these streaks for so long, during the months in which my university friendships had solidified, meaning that the real-life friendships and the Snapchat streaks had become inextricably linked in my mind. I had a bizarre fear that our friendships would drift if our streaks broke. This nightmare recently became a reality.
The streak played no role in our friendship, it never had
My longest streak was the one that I shared with my best friend. Our streak had been sparked alongside our friendship whilst living in the same student accommodation during our first year of university. She’s from Greece and Snapchat was not just a fun way to share the hottest campus gossip, it was also the perfect way to keep in touch during the long student holidays. In a way I saw it as a symbol of our friendship.
Then one day I woke up, loaded Snapchat to send my obligatory morning streak-snap, and saw that our streak had disappeared without a trace. It had happened during the night, meaning that neither of us saw the warning sign of that panic-inducing timer.
So that was that – the end of our streak. No alarm bells, no thunderstorm, no plague of locusts. It didn’t end with a bang, not even a whimper. Just a shrug and an “oh well”. Obviously, nothing changed. The streak played no role in our friendship, it never had.
I’ve now been streak-free for almost a month and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better
I felt conned, conned into spending hours of my life sending photos via an app under the ridiculous notion that a tiny flame emoji meant something. So, disillusioned and angry, I put my foot down and broke every single one of my Snapchat streaks. It wasn’t easy; every bone in my body was telling me to send a snap when I saw the timer emojis appear, and I was at the receiving end of some angry Whatsapp messages from friends who weren’t as ready to give up on the Snapchat dream just yet. But I resisted the pressure because I was done being Snapchat’s bitch.
I’ve now been streak-free for almost a month and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better. I still snap, but only when I have something worth snapping, and I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I invested too many hours in my Snapchat streaks and now I have some extra time on my hands, I can focus on the more important things in life, like finessing my Instagram.