SnapChat’s Global Friendship Report 2020

We are pleased to announce that our Founder, Dana Kerford, has been featured in SnapChat’s Global Friendship Report for a second year in a row.

As one of 17 experts around the world, Dana provided insight into childhood friendships and the importance of friendship skills. Dana has also been selected by SnapChat Australia to provide commentary and expertise to the media.


Media Release: A NEW SNAP REPORT SHOWS COVID-19 IS CHANGING OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OUR FRIENDS

October 28, 2020 – Snap Inc. today released its second global Friendship study, interviewing 30,000 people across sixteen countries, including Australia, to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and global issues have impacted friendship. Seventeen experts on friendship from around the world contributed to the report.

Kathryn Carter, General Manager for ANZ, SEA & HK, at Snap Inc. shared, “As friends around the world navigate the new normal of social distancing, this year’s Friendship Report shows us that during the COVID-19 pandemic visual communication has become more important than ever.”

“Talking in pictures and videos layered with creative tools like our augmented reality Lenses, Filters, and personal avatars Bitmoji, help Snapchatters express themselves and interact visually. They serve as an essential connector when meeting face to face is not an option and at this difficult time have enabled Snapchatters to feel closer to their best friends even as non-Snapchatters feel more distant.”

“We hope that new features like our Friendship Time Capsule will continue to help Snapchatters stay close with their best friends and support one another.”

The Friendship Report sheds new light on how COVID is affecting friendship and what other major events in life also have an impact, including:

  • COVID has brought some friends closer together, but also made some of us feel lonely.
  • Friends are our first line of defence against loneliness, and we generally make our best friends in childhood; on average we have known our closest friends for at least half of our lives.
  • Aussies agree digital communication has helped them maintain their friendships during isolation /COVID-19 and when starting a conversation with a friend Aussies opt for humor.
  • While most of us are keeping connected better through digital communication channels, we still need to develop our friendship skills to help us learn how to maintain friendships over distance and get back in touch if we do lose contact.
  • Experts from around the world have provided advice and tips on how to do this, Snap has also created a new Friendship Time Capsule to help Snapchatters celebrate their friendships.

The impact of COVID-19

Six months after much of the world has put in place social distancing restrictions, friends are having to find new ways to stay connected, and the long term effects are only just starting to become clear.

“Friendship really is at the heart of well-being. All of the science around wellbeing shows us that relationships are absolutely fundamental, they are a basic need,” says Australian friendship expert and founder of URStrong Dana Kerford.

Almost three quarters of Aussie friends say they are using online channels to communicate more than they would have before COVID-19 (73%) and for many those conversations have been deeper (48%), rather than focusing on surface-level topics. It appears digital communications are key to staying in touch when we’re apart, with a vast majority (80%) saying that they have helped friends maintain their relationship, regardless of age.

Even though there’s been an uptick in outreach to friends, COVID-19 has also led to loneliness for some. Two-thirds of those we surveyed said they’ve felt lonely since the pandemic started (35%) – 12% higher than pre-COVID-19.

Half of Aussies (53%) say that being unable to see their friends has made them feel lonelier, with only a third feeling friends are reaching out to them as much as they would like (39%). In fact, a third of people (33%) felt that social distancing has weakened their relationships with friends.

In total, a third of people we surveyed said that COVID-19 has affected their friendships. With the majority (53%) of Aussies saying they feel lonely when they can’t spend in-person time with friends, and nearly half of those surveyed agreed with the statement that they felt more distant from friends because they couldn’t spend time in-person (47%).

Dana Kerford, who studies how friendships grow and evolve says “friendships change. Even those bestest closest friendships. Sometimes we grow apart. But you do have to treat yourself like a best friend forever, because it is a forever thing.”

While friendships definitely do change, research shows that Snapchatters who often communicate visually have been able to maintain their friendships 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.”

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.

Over a third of people (38%) say their friendships are more important to them now and nearly half of us are making an intentional choice to reach out to friends that they haven’t spoken to in a while (45%).

The one that got away and reconnection

Last year, Snap’s Friendship Report found that friendships, especially those from childhood, have a huge impact on happiness and wellbeing. So, it was surprising to see this year that 79% of us globally have lost touch with a close friend but heartening that 41% of Aussies say they would like to rekindle their relationship.

And we would generally respond positively to one of our best friends re-establishing contact, with the most prominent emotions being excited (26%), or delighted (19%).

How do we find our way back to close friends?

While the number one thing people would like to send to their friends would be a photo of them together (42%), Aussies also like to share a laugh together. In fact a third of Aussies think that sending a funny meme or GIF would be the best way to start a conversation
(38%), making it the second most preferred way to start a conversation.

Over a third (36%) would like tools to use to help communicate, especially in tough situations like getting back in touch.

In direct response to these findings, Snap has launched the Friendship Time Capsule, a collaborative photo collage allowing Snapchatters to create a new shared memory between themselves and a friend. The snappable invites users to take a selfie and then send it to a friend who does the same. It then uses Snap’s machine learning to put the friends together and age them up through a series of scenarios in the future. This tool aims to help Snapchatters show they care for friends when they can’t be together, or to act as an aid in getting back in touch with a close friend.

How to be a better friend

There are plenty of resources for people struggling with relationships like family or marriage, but friendship hasn’t received the same treatment. This has left many without the tools or confidence they need to develop and navigate the ups and downs of friendships.

Dana Kerford talks about the importance of connection and forming healthy, quality friendships. “Some people bring out the worst in you. Some people you don’t click with. You deserve healthy, feel good friendships. It’s about teaching kids that we are kind to everyone but we reserve friendships to those we feel good around, we click with. On the green zone on the Friend-o-Meter.”

Listening, staying present, and accepting responsibility have been identified as key friendship skills. Honing these skills can take a little work, but with some lessons and practice, Dana and other international experts agree we can improve our friendships.

The full list of tips and skills can be found in the Global Friendship Report, here.

About the Report
The Friendship Report, commissioned in partnership with Alter Agents, polled 30,000 nationally
representative people ages 13 to 44 in Australia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan,
Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, UK and
US.

About Snap Inc.
Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest
opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. We contribute to human progress by
empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun
together. For more information, visit snap.com.

Australian Media Contact:
will.cook@wearedifferentpr.com.au