Miles Away, But Social Media Bridged the Gap

Hannah Yon, staff

“It’s not so easy to just fly halfway across the world,” sophomore Isabella Brunetti remarked. With family and friends in Italy, she acknowledged that busy calendars and expensive flights make seeing loved ones who live far away difficult. 

The Baron community extends much further than merely Bethesda. With global connections all over the world, social media and technology seem to have become the bridge between geographic separation. “We can still FaceTime or WhatsApp,” stated Brunetti, “and social media has definitely made distance easier.” However, when it comes to maintaining long-distance friendships and relationships, is social media really all that it’s hyped up to be?

There is no denying that social media connects people. Instagram especially helps by “[letting] me see what’s going on in [people’s] lives,” Brunetti shared. For many of her Italian friends, she also elaborated, “I finds it easier to DM them because they don’t really text.” Since texting can quickly become pricey outside of the United States, third party messaging platforms, such Instagram’s direct messages, have risen in popularity. Other platforms, notably TikTok, BeReal, and even Netflix watch parties as mentioned by Brunetti, have also increased contact between people despite distance.

While being beneficial for some relationships, social media as a whole is not necessarily as personal as it seems. Junior Anna Tercyak noted that some people can seem more relevant in her life when she “sees their posts and stories all the time,” even if she “[hasn’t] talked to them in years.” These less individualized aspects of social media may lead people to believe in relationships that aren’t actually genuine.

The way that many communicate on the popular social media platform Snapchat can advance this issue. “It’s so common for people to just snap anyone,” shared junior Claire Campbell. The idea of keeping a streak can serve as a motivator for these superficial interactions. “You technically communicate with them everyday, but you aren’t actually close,” Tercyak agreed. 

People are free to use features on social media platforms however they please. There is nothing directly harmful about simply interacting with or viewing someone’s social media profiles. While popular platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are useful mediums for one-on-one communication and group chats, many other practices promoted through them cannot equate real proximity. True friendships are simply irreplaceable.