My daughter Julia is one of those people in my life I want to check in with every day. Not to keep tabs on her, or her on me, but because deliberately and proactively thinking of the people I love the most is time well spent.
Enter Snapchat, that simple social media platform that claims it’s the easiest way to share a moment. Snap a photo, usually a selfie, add an optional caption, and send. Takes about ten seconds.
Snapchat keeps track of the number of consecutive days you’ve snapped with someone. Our streak just hit 1,500 days. That’s more than four years ago. Julia was an undergrad. I was teaching a class, working on The Culling, and could run faster than I can now.
Our streak would have been hundreds of days longer, except the chain was broken in 2018 on a redeye flight we took home from San Francisco. Somehow the time change messed us up, the calendar flipped to a new day, and there was no going back. We brushed off that setback and started a new streak.
Whether we’ve been a thousand miles apart or just the next room from each other, we’ve connected in this way every day. I might be unreasonably proud of this 1,500-day achievement, but we should all bask in our glories, even the little ones.
Social media has such a small role in my life. No Instagram, no TikTok. No Truth Social or other crazy fringe platform. I keep track of my virtual friends on Facebook, occasionally commenting on their posts or sharing one of my own blog posts. I hop on LinkedIn now and then to discover what my professional contacts are up to. But Snapchat is gold to me, even though I snap with one person only.
This 1,500-day streak makes me realize there hasn’t been a single day in the past four-plus years that I haven’t had my phone with me or have not been connected to the internet. It’s an uncomfortable thought that I haven’t been unplugged or lost in the wilderness for more than a handful of hours. On the other hand, I’ve connected with Julia. Every. Single. Day. Let’s keep it going.