HS Helsinki | The special feature of the favorite application on mobile phones became a machine that hooks young people

Maintaining a Snapchat message tube can strengthen young people’s friendships, but it can also become a burden, says communication docent Janne Matikainen.

Young for many young people in the capital region, maintaining the message tube or “streak” of the popular Snapchat application on a daily basis has become a habit that they cannot let go of.

Snapchat’s message stream grows larger the more days in a row friends send each other pictures. If one of them forgets to send a picture, the pipe resets.

HS said on Tuesday about 23-year-old friends from Helsinki who have been maintaining a Snapchat streak for almost eight years.

Read more: The friends have been increasing the most magical number of the young people’s favorite app for almost eight years

In connection with the story, readers were asked why they think streaks are maintained even for years. In this story, quotes have only been used from respondents whose identity is known to the editor.

The length of the Snapchat streak is symbolized by a flame emoji, next to which the length of days in the message tube is shown.

to HS’s survey answered more than 800 young people. That is an exceptionally large amount. The majority of respondents see Snapchat as an easy way to keep in touch with friends.

When the contact is maintained regularly, the streaks grow almost by themselves. Long message pipes are therefore not intentionally grown, but they also do not want to be cut off on purpose.

In addition, the answers repeated the idea that it is nice to see what the guys are up to on a daily basis through pictures and videos sent with a low threshold.

“Long streaks create the feeling that you’ve seen that person a lot.”

Female, 13, Uusimaa, longest streak 413 days with sister

“Maintaining a streak is a fun and addictive activity that strengthens daily contact with an important person. Every morning and evening I see how my friend is doing.”

Female, 25, Helsinki, longest streak 2,638 days with a friend

Snapchat can to some extent be compared to Whatsapp, i.e. it focuses largely on mutual communication between friends, says the docent of communication specializing in social media Janne Matikainen from the University of Helsinki.

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According to him, the Snapchat streak is one of the application’s means to increase user engagement and time spent on the platform daily. On the other hand, it is an indication of a broader phenomenon, i.e. the dataization of interaction, in which social media services increasingly transform interaction into a measurable form.

According to Matikainen, this kind of measurement of the message tube is probably seen as a positive thing for many users, which only shows how close you are with a certain friend. A long streak may strengthen the experience of being good friends with someone.

“In the old days, when you called your friends on the phone, it didn’t register anywhere. Now the recording of communication is an automatic feature in many services,” says Matikainen.

On the other hand, he reminds that the constant maintenance of the streak can also become a burden. Once the message pipeline has been formed, you may feel that you can’t break it, even if you can’t keep it up anymore.

“When the streak is long enough, it can feel sad to break it because of the ‘great number’.”

Male, 20, Kirkkonummi, longest streak 1,460 days with a girlfriend

“The streak is the most pointless thing in the world today, but it’s been maintained for many years, so it can’t be broken anymore.”

Female, 22, Espoo, longest streak 2,202 days with a boyfriend

“Maintaining streaks sometimes even causes a little stress. When my sister went on a trip to Asia, she shared her password with me in case the internet didn’t work for her during the trip and the streak could be broken.”

Female, 24, Helsinki, longest streak 2,453 days with sister

Matikainen with the dataization of interaction, we have become more aware of with whom and how much we interact.

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Since friends are an important reference group, especially in the teenage years, Snapchat friends may also become the object of competition and comparison in a certain way.

In addition, when the streak is broken sooner or later, it can arouse negative feelings and possibly lead to various conflicts, according to Matikainen.

“The danger is that friendships might be compared and rated according to the length of the streak,” he says.

Also in HS’s survey, many respondents said that, especially when they were younger, the length of the streak was seen as a status symbol or there was a competition for its length. In addition, they may have had tangible effects on real-life friendships.

“The more streaks with different people, the more popular and cooler the person.”

Female, 24, Helsinki, longest streak 2,183 days with sister.

“A broken streak may in extreme cases have led to the end of weaker friendships. Streaks have also been broken intentionally as a result of disputes.”

Male, 20, Helsinki, longest streak 2,122 days with a friend

“In the past, streaks were grown because it was a ‘cool’ thing and they were compared to each other. Nowadays, I think it’s superficial and too many young people stress about losing streaks. People become addicted to the imaginary feeling that ‘we’ve known each other for a long time’ or ‘he cares about me’.”

Male, 17, Helsinki, longest streak was 600 days with an acquaintance

At least However, Snapchat streaks seem to have one clear benefit.

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Many young people need to use them to keep in regular contact with people with whom they would otherwise have no contact.

“If I didn’t have streaks, talking with some people and keeping up with each other would have stopped a long time ago, in the meantime there have been moves to different cities and school changes.”

Female, 15, Espoo, longest streak 1,088 days with a former classmate

Read more: The friends have been increasing the most magical number of the young people’s favorite app for almost eight years

Read more: 15-24-year-olds spent almost six hours on smart devices every day during the corona virus – the graphics show when they stare at the screen

Read more: Disappearing messages on Snapchat became the starting point for youth crime in the Helsinki region – Police warn of serious consequences

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