The Power of Social Media


Mahnoor Hasan, Contributing Writer

Have you ever had trouble finding people to share your interests with? The algorithms in social media are based on your interests; whether that be about books, movies, shows, Harry Styles, etc. The many digital communities have helped people stay in touch with their interests and meet new people that share those interests.

Social media is packed with endless topics. The algorithms notice what type of content the user is most interested in and continue to add that type of content to their page to keep them interested. Most people are familiar with TikTok, but for those who aren’t, it is a social media site in which people share videos, that are at most 3 minutes long, about anything that they want it to be about. TikTok has a feature called the “For You Page.” It is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a page personalized to the user’s interests based on the videos and hashtags they have previously liked. All social media platforms have different communities. These communities are separated based on topics. For example, a person could be on “book-tok” or “Marvel-tok.” These basic divisions in social media have helped connect people together to geek out about their favorite things.

There’s an endless number of communities online. I could write an infinite amount of pages listing each of the digital communities. Are you interested in Harry Potter? There’s a whole fan base for you to be a part of online. Do you like reading? Your fellow book-lovers are waiting for you to join them. Are you an artist or do you enjoy art? A wide range of people online are creating art and would like you to see it. Are you also curious about the upcoming Marvel movies and want to share your theories? There are millions of people online sharing their opinions, and maybe one of them will have the same theory as you. Social media has an endless web of people, and in one way or another, we are connected to each other through the simplest of likes, comments, shares, etc. Personally, my TikTok “For You Page” consists of people talking about books, New Girl, Marvel, and cats/dogs. 

A huge factor that discourages people from posting anything online is the fear of judgment. Isabella Scavo, who has over two thousand followers on her Disney TikTok account, mentioned in an interview  “On Tiktok and Instagram I use ‘Bella,’ and I have a lot more posts on secret accounts.” Her “secret” accounts are accounts that she blocked people from school on. She did this because she felt that she would be judged by those who don’t understand her love for Disney. “I feel like it’s easier to be myself with these [people who have the same interests.]” says Bella. The world is full of judgy people, and it’s easier to block them out of your life if you want to create a safe environment for yourself.

Because the online world is so big, I know that my opinion/what I say is not going to matter to most people, and a lot of people won’t even see it. Knowing that, it makes it easier to comment on videos and share my opinions. Of course, that is coming from the point of view of an introvert. There are many people out there who naturally don’t care what others think and will say what they think regardless of who’s reading it. It’s also a matter of who’s reading it that depends on how they respond or what reaction you’ll get. “If I tweet ‘OMG! Simping over Tyler Roose on page 178 or whatever,’ they’ll all be like ‘OMG YES.’ But my school friends won’t interact with those. If I tweet ‘A fight just happened in my school. Not surprised.’ My school friends will interact, meanwhile these random 20 year olds in Portugal won’t interact with that.” said Bella. People will interact with what pertains to them. 

You can meet new people/make new friends online (but be careful!). Don’t just go off and start introducing yourself to every account you come into contact with. Bella Scavo met some of her closest friends online. She met people through her account on TikTok and, coincidentally, happened to live in the same area as some of them. During times of COVID, people all over the world had to resort to online interactions. To pass time while in lockdown, we all curled up in our beds, grabbed our phones and started scrolling through TikTok. It was an endless void. We were constantly talking to the same people online. All some people wanted to do was meet someone new. Get a new interaction. While on that endless TikTok scroll, you probably commented on a video once or twice and could’ve gotten a response. Maybe you started posting videos and someone commented on your video and you responded. Now, maybe you have a conversation and are following each other. You could’ve been added to a group chat on Snapchat or Instagram. Now, you’ve met new people who are about to become your good friends.

Be aware of the red flags, though. There are things to be careful of when meeting people online. For example, if they don’t post a lot/at all and have no profile picture, then it may be best for you to not share any personal information with them. If they have any other social media accounts linked to the one you are viewing them from, check it out to make sure they seem legit.  Also, there are people who post pictures claiming that it’s them. In reality, they might be using pictures of others that they found off the internet. This is most well-known as catfishing. If they hopped into your DM, then be aware about what information they’re asking you for. For instance, it’s best to avoid anyone asking exactly where you live, asking about/for money, and don’t give out your number to strangers online.

Social media is a part of our lives. It’s such a huge part of the world now. Millions of people are online, and you could meet a brand new friend. There are already sites like Tinder and Omegle that are made for people to meet, but you don’t know exactly what their interests are or how passionate they are about their interests. Online, you can meet anyone at any given moment. I know there are awful people online, and there is no way to get rid of them. If you are in a community in which you feel connected with everyone, then chances are you are gonna like it there. Look at Bella, for instance. She dislikes social media because of the toxicity, but she is super in touch and content with the side of social media she ended up on that allows her to be herself because of the people around her in that community. “I honestly hate social media that’s not my secret accounts because it’s too toxic. I kind of used covid as an excuse to not post and not text people. I feel like social media is really damaging to people, unless you find a friend.”