I never understood why older generations consistently wrote opinion articles complaining that social media is making us more antisocial. We have been bombarded with photos of younger generations with their necks craned down as they type away on their phones, which people claim isolates them from one another.
I’ve never resonated with this opinion. For me, social media has allowed me to make more connections and friendships than I could have in real life or offline.
Back in high school, I felt utterly alone. I didn’t connect with students around me who were into cheerleading, football, music and other things that didn’t interest me. Instead, I turned to social media in hopes of sharing my interests with others online.
I created a Tumblr account and quickly found a community of people updating others on their current reads, posting photos about the books they’ve recently bought and debating about other literary topics. I was immediately hooked.
As someone who has spent most of her life with her nose stuck in a book, I finally felt as though I found my community – my friends – through our shared love for reading. Even though we were scattered around the world, it felt as though we were all in the same room together, chatting away for hours as if we’ve been friends for a lifetime.
When I first thought of social media, I thought of sharing selfies and people tweeting about what they’re currently eating, the stereotypical things opinion writers love to harp on in order to make fun of our tech-savvy generation. Little did I know that I would form friendships on Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram all because of our collective love for books and pop culture.
Through social media I found my niche, as others can, too. There is an endless array of communities that you can join to share your thoughts and ideas with others who are interested in the same things.
I never saw social media as a place that isolated me from others. Because I decided to talk about books online, I have met other book bloggers in real life, forming both online and offline friendships with them.
I used to see social media as this scary space where shadowy strangers can contact you, but over the years, I learned to embrace its potential. While it allows people to isolate themselves from conversing with others around them in a waiting room or in classes, it also gives others the chance to make connections they may not have been able to make with those in their neighborhood.
Social media provides us with communities and friendships that have the potential to change our lives for the better. I’m not embarrassed to say that I love social media. It has allowed me to make more friends than I ever imagined, and I am forever grateful for that.