Assuming your phone automatically updates your apps, millennial friendship dynamics shifted on Monday while you were Facebooking. That is, Snapchat released a new version - one which allows users to identify their mutual besties, six degrees of separation, and who is the Judas of your best friends (who you snap all the time and they don't reciprocate).
In case you don't use Snapchat, it's an app that allows friends to send self-deleting photos and messages to one another. Snapchat used to be just in good fun (and maybe sexting) before they allowed friends to see who their friends' top Snappers were. You could click on a person's name and see the top three people who they snapped with.
No big deal, right?
Don't be ignorant. Humans are petty, jealous creatures. Relationships disintegrated. Friends challenged friends. Everyone wanted the top spot, and why is your best friend your significant other's top Snapchat friend?
This feature hung around for a while. But a couple of months ago, it disappeared. You could no longer see who your friends were snapping. I suspect the Snapchat CEO got a girlfriend.
Until Monday. The newest update doesn't let you see your friends' Snapchat best friends explicitly, but through a series of hieroglyphs, it lets you see if your best friends are mutual or if it's a one-sided affair. I can't decide if Snapchat thinks this info is any less divisive than best friend lists. Anyone with critical thinking skills (so 10% of the population . . . ) can identify the loyal and the fickle.
- A gold heart 💛: You are each other's best friends: You send the most Snaps to them, and they send the most Snaps to you. You should get married. If my logic skills work, not everyone will have a gold heart on their friends' list. Someone might have some explaining to do.
- A cheesin' emoji 😁: Your best friend is their best friend. If you have the gold heart with your best friend, then you're safe. This fool can't interfere with your friendship. If you don't have the heart, declare war. You need to be in the top spot. Social media is a game, after all, and you must win.
- A rosy-cheeked emoji 😊: You send the most Snaps to this person out of all their friends. You can look at this in two ways: Either you need to get a life, or you're winning the war. I prefer the latter view since I have six friends who I send the most Snaps to. #NoShame
- Sunglass emoji 😎: You have a mutual best friend with this person. Basically, you're best friends by default! *praise hand emoji* Until they backstab you and try to oust you. Be wary of the day when your mutual best friend becomes their top best friend and your gold heart disappears.
- Side-smile emoji 😏: You are their best friend, but they are not yours. Again, there are two interpretations here: You need to get a life and stop obsessing over this person, or they are just not well-versed in Snapchat and you need to mentor them. Again, I prefer the latter approach because I am best friend to 12 people who are not in my best friends. I can't help that I'm a nice person (who procrastinates by Snapchatting). But, like, why is my former crush on this list? We snap once every two weeks?!?
- A fire emoji 🔥: This is preceded by a number, which indicates the number of consecutive days you've Snapchatted back and forth. It's fitting that it's a flame; the heat is on to keep the fire burning. Every day you must snap them, and they must snap back, or else the number vanishes. And the mighty may fall. My highest number is 28. That's as long as February. Where's my trophy?
Overall, the new Snapchat code can cause just as many battles as the best friend list. Friends will be betrayed by friends when they fail to snap back that day; the flame will disappear. Couples will still figure out when their significant other is talking to their best friend a bit too much through process of elimination. And others will plot for the top spot and try to dethrone you. And stop snapping the person who you're best friends to, but they're not yours; one of you is being used.
If you can't tell, I view Snapchat as a game to be conquered. Coming in my next post: A Snapchat war.