The old saying goes “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Facebook, naturally, has put a different twist to that: if you can’t beat ‘em, copy ‘em. That does seem to be the between the social networking titan and Snapchat, perceived to be its biggest threat, bigger than even Twitter. Following a long list of new features that have a not so vague resemblance to Snapchat’s, Facebook is now testing “streaks” in Messenger, turning conversations into a potential game and, of course, profitable user engagement for Facebook.
Snapchat has been hailed as the Facebook killer, particularly because of its appeal to a younger, and bigger, audience. Its ephemeral messaging, which didn’t always work as expected, was something Facebook later applied to Instagram and more. When Snapchat got Stories, so did Facebook.
Now it’s Streaks’ time to get the Facebook treatment. Streaks is simply really a counter of how many straight days you and your buddy have been messaging each other. It adds a nice, cold number to an otherwise personal communication, nagging you to keep on raising the figures and not letting it drop. This “don’t break the chain” psychology has actually been used by productivity gurus to help people develop good habits. Of course, it can also be used to develop bad ones.
News of Facebook’s own Streaks implementation hasn’t been received that well. And it isn’t just because they were trying to ripoff Snapchat. The idea of messaging streaks itself hasn’t particularly sat well with some users, even on Snapchat. The good news is that Facebook is still testing the feature and may not even roll it out widely. Then again, why would it want to break its own streak?