What The Heck Is A Snapchat Streak?

As someone who is not particularly adept at Snapchat (I'm that girl who just sends various selfies with the dog filter — sorry, everyone), I was completely perplexed the first time someone mentioned a "snapstreak." To be honest, I thought it was a made-up term. What is a Snapchat streak, anyway? But oh, like so much in life, things that seem so silly and improbable are often real. Here's everything you need to know about snapstreaks. Let's learn together. Let's make some memories.

Now, if your takeaway from that first paragraph was, "Haha, OK, but what's the 'Snapchat' part?" then here's a brief history: Snapchat is a social media app that was first released in 2011. It lets you send photos and videos that disappear after an allotted amount of time (usually a few seconds). It's become the social platform of choice for post-millennial digital natives, because post-millennial digital natives are way cooler than the rest of us.

In late March of this year, Snapchat 2.0 launched, which massively expanded the app's private messaging capabilities — and that's where the snapstreak stuff comes in. The "point" of a snapstreak is really just to see how long you can keep it going; it's one of a few features built into the app that turns it into a kind of game. There's not exactly anything to "win," though, so perhaps "challenge" is a slightly better term for a snapstreak than "game."

In any event, have you ever noticed that little fire emoji next to certain friends' names? Great. That's where we're starting. Hold onto your butts.

What Does The Fire Emoji Mean?

The fire emoji next to a friend's name means that you and that special, special person in your life have snapped one another within 24 hours for at least two days in a row. You know, like your friendship is on fire? Or... other stuff? As soon as I started trawling Twitter for more information about snapstreaks, I realized that they are essentially like relationship statuses, although possibly a tiny bit more tenuous.

What Does The Number Next To The Fire Emoji Mean?

That's the number of days you've been on said "snapstreak." It references actual snaps, though, not "chats," so if you use Snapchat as you would Facebook Messenger or AIM back in the day, your snapstreak number will be skewed.

OK, So Then What Does That Hourglass Emoji Mean?

The hourglass emoji means that your snapstreak is about to end. Stressful, right? But let's be real, that's probably intentional. The whole goal of Snapchat is make people, um, use Snapchat more.

Ack, So How Do I Keep The Snapstreak Going?

Just send a snap! Any old snap! Snap a pretty flower! Snap a pretty dog! Snap that very strange geofilter your small, made-up-sounding hometown has created and is insisting on using! Go forth and snap, snap, snap!

Images: Emojipedia; Giphy