Indian singer Armaan Malik captures some fun moments with his childhood friend
Snap Inc. released its second global Friendship study, interviewing 30,000 people across sixteen countries and interviewing global experts, to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and global issues have impacted friendship.
Today, in response to findings from the report, Snapchat launched The Friendship Time Capsule, a fun new feature that allows friends that can’t be together in person, to create new shared memories through AR on Snapchat. The Snappable uses machine learning to allow friends to get a glimpse of their friendship in a variety of scenarios in the future.
Armaan Malik used the feature to reach out to childhood friend Krish, saying, “Krish and I go way back; we became friends when we were both in the fourth grade. There are friends, there is family, and there are friends that become family; Krish is that friend for me. Even if we don’t stay in touch with each other owing to our busy schedules, we always pick up from where we left off and it’s as easy as it always has been. That’s what true friendship is all about. And, while we can’t be together at the moment, I tried Snap’s Time Capsule Lens to capture some fun moments with him!”
The Friendship Time Capsule was created to combat some of the difficulties friendships are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Snap’s recently released Friendship Report showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to over a third of friendships (globally) being affected in some way. In India, covid has further accelerated the importance of digital connections with nearly 91% saying that they have helped friends maintain their relationship, regardless of age. This is much higher as compared to the global average.
Nearly four out of five of friends, 87% say they relied on digital communication to stay connected through the lockdown in India. For 76% of the ones surveyed, those conversations have been deeper, rather than focusing on surface-level topics
Even though there’s been an uptick in outreach to friends, COVID-19 has also led to loneliness for some Indians. Half of those surveyed by Snap said they’ve felt lonely since the pandemic started (51%), simply because they couldn’t see their friends again, which is 13% higher than pre-COVID-19.
The upside is that, with the pandemic causing so much isolation, people genuinely want to reach out and check in on those they care about. More than half of the people almost 54% say their friendships are more important to them now and nearly three-quarters, 74% of us are making an intentional choice to reach out to friends that they haven’t spoken to in a while
This may explain why there was a marked difference between Snapchatters who often communicate visually – and non-Snapchatters – with Snapchatters becoming closer to friends during the pandemic.
Friendship researcher Donya Alinejad describes the importance of visual communication as creating “co-presence” which results in “a feeling of being together when you’re actually physically distant.” Feeling as though we’re actually together is important “for a whole host of reasons,” Alinejad says, particularly “for those who are in need of or require a kind of emotional support.”
Looking at the (global) data from prior to the pandemic, Snap found that the single event most likely to strengthen a friendship, was taking a vacation together (64%).
Without being able to do that now, Snap wanted to create a way to support its community, and enable this through AR, allowing Snapchatters to share positive thoughts with their friends about where they will go together in the future. And in terms of friends who are no longer in touch, Snap found the ways people would most like to reach out, is through a photo of them and their friend together (42%), or by sending a photo that reminded them of a shared memory (40%). Humour also ranked highly, with a third thinking that sending a funny meme or GIF would be the best way to reconnect (31%).
The Friendship Time Capsule combines all three of these things; by allowing Snapchatters to share silly images of them and a friend in outlandish locations and at different ages, the camera company hopes to bridge the gap for those that have lost touch.