Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Social Media is Creating Real Friendships version 2

Social Media is creating Real Friendships:

 A Case Study in Quidditch 

My name is Jackson Berg and I'm a beater for the Provo Nightfuries Quidditch team. No you are not dreaming I actually said Quidditch. Yeah like from Harry Potter.  I believe social media and other digital tools aren't ruining interpersonal relationships; they're actually facilitating the creation of new interpersonal relationships and strengthening existing ones. 

Captains Meeting at a Utah wide Tournament 
Many people focus on the negative of social media and other forms of digital communication. They say that interpersonal relationships are being destroyed by the flood of digital communication all around us. They lament the "good old days" when everyone had savant like social skills. I argue that people's social skills are enhanced by these tools. Pictured to the left is a group of Quidditch captains from all over Utah. When we aren't at events I seldom see them. Yet I consider them my friends and we can stay updated on what is happening in each others lives outside of Quidditch through Facebook and Instagram. If we only connected face to face at events it would be nearly impossible to become friends.
Friends on and off the pitch 
 Now you may be thinking: "Okay so I can see how your digital tools helped your little Quidditch community but that dosen't mean it helped build friendships!" You may relate easily to Allison Grahm's Ted Talk about how social media is cutting people off from one another. Although this can be a danger of social media and not all results are positive, let's remember that it is call "social" media for a reason. People started using it in the first place because they wanted to be more social! The digital tools that allowed for the creation a a Quidditch team allowed for me and the others pictured above to become long lasting friends. (That's us at a farewell party for our friend Karrissa that was also advertised on social media)

Team Crowdfunding advertised on Facebook. 

Small niche organizations such as Quidditch teams rely on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to create a community not only within each team but among-st all of the 200+ teams spread all across the United States. (yeah you probably thought it was just typical BYU students doing weird things)  They even integrate these social media platforms with crowdfunding sites such as or to 
raise money and further connect those interested. 
Volunteer form for Clash of the Wasatch Tournament

In the Quidditch community the work of volunteers.  These volunteers are from the teams that participate in the tournaments and fill positions that range from Assistant Refs to Scorekeepers for dozens of games. These volunteers are often from a diverse geographical area and busy schedules. So how do a few people organize all these people together? The answer, once again, is the digital tools that are available such as the example on the left. Google Forms, distributed through email and Facebook is used for volunteers to sign up for positions they would like to fill.

William Wilberforce

The idea of bringing people together to accomplish something worthwhile isn't new. You may have heard of William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect who worked were able to communicate and come together though the communication medium of the day, letters, to fight slavery and other social injustices. They were a group of people from different parts of England that communicated and came together to not only change the world but also formed long lasting friendships in the process.

I'm not saying that Quidditch ,or most anything we do on social media for that matter, will have the world changing impact of William Wilberforce and his friends. I am saying, however,  that the social medial and digital tools are creating an impact on our interpersonal relationships. An impact that I argue is for for better. It connects people in an individual way to other people with similar interests and yes it may even help you be more social. 

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