Robert Katz, Staff Writer
This is the first in a series of four articles that will focus on social media and its place in high school.
As Facebook continues to dominate students’ social spheres, only one other social networking website comes close to matching the omnipotence of Facebook: Twitter. Since its inception in 2006, the microblogging service has slowly made its way into the social fibers of students, allowing its users to broadcast thoughts and links across the world wide web to whomever chooses to “follow,” or subscribe, to them.
For many students interested in tracking the industries and figures around them, such as sophomore Mehrzad Farnoosh (@m3hr), Twitter has proven to be invaluable.
“Twitter is a great source of news of every kind. I check it everyday to catch up on things, mostly tech. It has let me communicate with people I admire, and I enjoy it because it makes important people personal,” Farnoosh said.
Farnoosh had recommendations for students jumping into Twitter.
“I check every day, using different services that give me things like ‘Most tweeted links’ and such. For news, the New York Times (@nytimes), and CNN (@cnnbrk) are good and fast. Plus my whole slew of tech sources, like TechCrunch (@techcrunch),” Farnoosh said.
Even in the hallways, Farnoosh can recognize students eagerly representing the service.
“You can hear shouts around school, like ‘Follow me on Twitter,’ and many students I know have started using the service,” Farnoosh said.
Music streaming and sharing
Somewhat new to the social networking scene is the proliferation of music streaming sites, such as Rdio and Spotify, which allow users to instantly listen to music from an extensive catalog of licensed albums. Users may broadcast a feed of songs as they listen to them to their friends over Facebook and can directly recommend songs to their peers.
Many audiophiles, such as freshman Matthew Sater, have found their musical tastes enriched by music-sharing.
“The best part of Spotify, iheartradio and other music listening services is how much music you can discover. You see the music your Facebook friends listen to, which makes it so much easier to discover new artists. I have been indirectly introduced to many bands by seeing their listening preferences and on Facebook. One important thing is to not get carried away when listening to free music. If you find that you like a band, buy their album to support them instead of listening to their music for free,” Sater said.
There have even been social benefits outside of the website’s scope.
“Seeing what friends listen to on Facebook is a really good way to connect with friends. I met someone and saw on Facebook he liked similar music, so we went to see a concert together and became better friends,” Sater said.
Sater believes that music-sharing deserves to become an integral part of on-line music culture.
“Music is something that is social by nature. People go to concerts and festivals with friends to listen to music with thousands of other people, so why shouldn’t the social aspects of music translate online?” Sater asked.
An internet mainstay, microblog Tumblr, lets users create and maintain their own free blogs where they may post text, photos, videos and other multimedia. Tumblr blogs, or “tumblelogs,” can be completely customized aesthetically, with a multitude of fonts, colors, button sizes and layouts to choose from.
Tumblr bloggers, including sophomore Leah Broukhim, view Tumblr as a source of self-expression.
“I love tumblr because it is like your own little world. I choose everything I post, and it’s a way to see into other people’s worlds. You can tell a person’s perspective of society through his or her Tumblr. And there are always pictures that make you think,” Broukhim said.
Released in 2010, the photo-sharing iPhone application Instagram has gained over 27 million members. The application allows students to take photos on their phones, add filters and upload them to a variety of social networks, including Twitter(twitter.com), Facebook (Facebook.com) and Tumblr (Tumblr.com).
Senior Arianna Aviram saw Instagram as a more efficient alternative to manually submitting pictures to social networking sites.
“I think Instagram is a fun little social networking app to edit one’s pictures, but it’s mainly a replacement for Facebook’s mobile uploads. Most people directly connect their photos to Facebook, ceasing the existence of the ‘mobile upload.’ I mean, sure, the editing style is pretty rad. There are a lot of different types of filters, borders, and blurring effects which make it differ from the simple mobile upload. Instead of someone taking a picture, editing it on a different app, opening Facebook, and then uploading it, it’s just one quick step,” Aviram said.
Instagram will soon be accessible by a larger demographic of students, as its developers plan to bring an improved version of the application to Android phones. This weekend, a page on the Instagram website began accepting email addresses of those who wish to “be first in line for Instagram on Android.”
Look for more social media-centric content for the rest of the week as Beverly Highlights continues its Social Week!