We asked our youth bloggers what their favourite social media platform was and why. Let’s see what they have to say. Please remember that all platforms have potential dangers and can connect you to harmful and abusive content, so take care when using any social media.
Chiara’s social media of choice
Although perhaps not seen as a typical social media platform, by all, YouTube enables the sharing of information as well social networking. The information is typically directed by your own searches and questions. Therefore, the information presented, by the algorithm, is often, though not always, personalised. I find it baffling how thought-provoking hour-long interviews and lectures of deeply complex topics are available as 5-minute-long summaries – for free! From history, literature, mythology and politics, to astronomy, medicine and biochemistry – all kinds of subjects as well as more relaxing and entertaining content. As with most social media platforms, I would argue, you can choose your content, you don’t need to watch anything you’d rather not. Though YouTube is still filled with drama and damaging content. I try to be grateful for the educational opportunities it provides. I’m not the biggest social media advocate, I still have my problems with YouTube, such as anonymous internet trolling, for instance. However, if used sensibly, it could be a good addition to one’s internet presence: offering advice, knowledge and wisdom, if we choose to search for.
Chiara, 17, Northampton
Grace’s social media of choice
Social media is a great way to spread awareness about issues you feel strongly about, express your feelings, connect with friends and family, share inspirational stories and stay up to date with the latest news, as well as keeping up with your favourite celebrities!
For me, the best social media platform is Instagram, partly because of the wide range of features and tools it offers. For those of you who don’t have Instagram, here’s why you should consider getting it!
1. Instagram is really easy to use. The aesthetics of it is also a bonus, but within a few days (or even hours!) of using it, finding your way around the app becomes a breeze.
2. The wide range of content you can make on Instagram almost encompasses everything else you can do on virtually any other platform! You can post pictures and videos, you can post ‘stories’ (which are ‘posts’ that only last for 24 hours, usually just to update everyone about a temporary feature), you can post reels (fun, short videos with cool music!), share content, chat to people and so much more! It’s free of charge too!
3. You can build your own personal brand on Instagram. If there is a hobby you feel strongly about, you can make an account and link with others who also have similar interests! There are thousands of accounts based on photography, art, singing, dancing and even bird watching. If you don’t have a hobby, you enjoy at the moment, Instagram is a great place to find inspiration and start something new!
4. There is a ‘feed’ tailored just for you, based on your searching history. Instead of random content coming up in the ‘web browser’ of Instagram, videos and pictures that are more personally relevant to what you are interested in and looking for appear. That way, you can find content that you’re interested in quickly, sometimes without even needing to search anything up!
However, as with all social media platforms, there are a few downsides that all users should be aware of:
- Abusive/hateful comments and messages. Instagram does aim to block all accounts that do spread negative and harmful content, however, they don’t manage to get to everyone. If you do happen to come across an account that does spread inappropriate messages, report them (Instagram has an easy to use report button) and block them.
- Not everyone is who they seem online: don’t expose yourself fully online, because those online ‘friends’ may not be friends after all.
- Keep a private account if using it for personal reasons, such as sharing with friends.
Grace, 14, London
Ellie’s social media of choice
If you don’t know what TikTok is, a) you’re missing out, and b) where have you been? TikTok has been around since 2016, and rapidly began gaining worldwide popularity. To date, there are 2 billion mobile downloads. Satisfying our increasingly shortening attention span, TikTok provides us with an endless string of short videos tailored to fit all of your interests, no matter how wild.
One thing TikTok is continuously praised for, is its scarily accurate algorithm. Within minutes of organising between content you do and don’t want, TikTok has already predicted your current interests, videos you’ll like in the future, videos you’ll send to friends, what you had for breakfast, who knows what else? For each person, opening the app is an entirely different experience, some of us fear it’ll expose our anime addiction, while others open it confident that their ‘For You’ page will gift them the latest dancing trend. By downloading TikTok, you open the gateway to discovering communities of people who like dancing, painting, sports, reading, TV, politics, cooking, pets, even gardening. So, if you don’t think it’s for you, clearly you haven’t yet experienced the algorithm’s magical predictions.
Aside from aiding our own personal needs, TikTok has made it incredibly easy to donate to charities. For each creator and every video, the option to add a donate sticker, on screen, can be enabled. This provides viewers, over 18 years old, with fast and simple access to a window where they can place their donation. This feature is incredibly useful to charities as videos can spread like wildfire and fundraisers can rapidly reach a large audience, willing to help. Besides official charities, while scrolling you may come across people who could use an extra push, in the right direction, a mother who needs a little extra cash to pay for today’s shopping, a teen with newfound independence who needs a bit more to make this month’s rent. Don’t fear! To help these people you don’t need to take a single penny out of your own wallet. If they’re signed up to the creator fund (a programme that pays creators based on the level of engagement their videos receive) you can help these people out with the click of a button! Leaving a like will make the algorithm spread their video around to others, and eventually they’ll have reached enough good doers like you to help them out of their troubles.
Ellie, 16, Leicester
Tabitha’s social media of choice
Though far from the most popular social media platform, I am here today, to convince every single one of you that Pinterest is the best.
I am an introvert to the core. So unfortunately, for my very patient friends, not only do I dislike talking to people in person, but I also avoid interacting with people online. Yeah… so what I’m talking about isn’t really ‘social’ media, but shhh, it still counts.
Not that you can’t talk to people on Pinterest. There isn’t a direct messaging tool, but there is a helpful comment section under each post, so people can share tips and opinions on whatever topic they like. This is great for recipes and craft projects because it lets you see how other people got on, with pictures of their attempts, and lets you read reviews to help you find the very best method.
I love Pinterest because when I’m looking for something creative, they always seem to have exactly what I need. It’s my go-to for finding art reference pictures, sewing, painting and drawing ideas (plus pretty much every other creative past time you can think of), health advice, memes, fashion inspiration – I could go on. I have it to thank for all my good ideas, and if you are any kind of creative and curious person, I think you’ll love it too.
Yes, the latest trends probably don’t reach it as fast as Twitter or Instagram, but it’s just such a wholesome environment (as far as I can tell). I think I’ve been using Pinterest ever since the first time I logged on to the internet and I haven’t seen a single harmful post or comment. It always feels like a very supportive community: everyone sharing ideas, learning, creating and recognising each other’s talents and skills.
Tabitha, 15, Leicester
All images come from Unsplash