Social media keeps students connected over summer

As summer is quickly approaching for University of San Diego students, the dreaded moment of saying goodbye to out-of-state friends is upon us.

Nowadays, summer doesn’t have to mean a lack of communication between friends. Students have the option of choosing between various social media applications to keep in touch.

Social media has made a name for itself, becoming an integrated part of many students lives. Social media is used for various purposes depending on the individual, however, staying in constant communication appears to be a common theme.

Junior Madison Samuels reflected on her social media usage and determined that checking Instagram and Snapchat is part of her daily routine.

“Now that Snapchat, and even Instagram, have stories, I get to see what my friends are up to all the time—it’s more instant,” Samuels said. “I can talk to people I don’t see often on Snapchat everyday and stay more in touch with them.”

Snapchat allows users to share “stories.” For those who aren’t seasoned users, a story is essentially a picture or video that is visible to you and your friends for up to 24 hours. As Samuels mentioned, the use of stories can keep friends in the know of what others are doing.

While social media can be used to stay up to date on friend’s activities, it can simultaneously function as a source of background information. Students can learn where someone is from, who their friends are, or their interests all by looking at a social media profile.

“You meet someone for the first time, and you are like, ‘Oh, follow me on Instagram,’” Samuels said. “You get to see what kind of person they are, so you learn more about them personally.”

Students seem to be more likely to meet friends online before meeting in person. First impressions are no longer confined to in-person interactions. Today, students can use social media to ‘research’ new found friends.

At the beginning of the year when Samuels originally found out who her roommates were, the first thing she did was find them on Instagram. Before she even received their number and contacted them, Samuels scrolled through Instagram and Facebook profiles and looked through all their photos.

“Yep, I creeped on them,” Samuels said. “It really benefitted me because I was able to put a face to their name when I later contacted them.”

On the other hand, sophomore CJ Garza said he tends to see social media applications as a complement to his everyday human interactions.

“I use Instagram more because it has a bigger population of people who use it that are our age,” Garza said. “So it is easier for me to connect with those people on Instagram.”

Garza explained that he uses his social media apps the same way he would interact with people face-to-face.

“The equivalent to saying ‘hi’ to someone in person is commenting on their photo or sending them a direct message on Instagram,” Garza said. “Liking is too impersonal because some people get over 200 likes, that it just means nothing.”

Through Garza’s particular use of social media, he said he will be able to continue communicating with friends over summer without missing a beat.

Even though social media has come to replace some real life interactions for Garza, he shared that he recognizes the need to maintain real life social interactions.

“I feel like people rely on social media too much for their interactions,” Garza said. “There has to be some sort of interaction in person or else the relationship between friends is meaningless if most interactions are through social media.”

Garza said he won’t let his use of social media come in between his real life interactions. Even though he plans to keep his presence on social media, he said it’s crucial to make the effort to speak directly with friends this summer.

Junior Mallery Kiefus seemed to go against the grain, seeing social media merely as a source of entertainment rather than an avenue for communication.

“I see most of my social media usage as recreational,” Kiefus said. “If I need to communicate with someone, I would just directly contact them.”

Although happy to reach out and actually have a communication with her friends when she wants to catch up, Kiefus will often find herself checking her social media accounts when taking a study break or in her downtime.

“If I see something really funny or relatable, I will tag my friends in the post,” Kiefus said. “It is a subtle way to let them know I’m thinking about them without starting a conversation.”

Students can say what they want about social media, but one advantage that can’t be denied is the ability to connect with the masses from afar. Although seeing each other in person, chatting on the phone, or shooting someone a text, is still preferable, with social media students are given endless options to supplement their real life interactions.

By Taryn Beaufort, Asst. Opinion Editor