Monday, April 4, 2016

Social Media Is Creating Real Friendships: A Case Study In Quidditch

Qudditch: Organized on Social Media played in real life


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 love Quidditch because there is good in everything. This includes things such as social media Many people say social media is ruining relationships.  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. 

"Digital Tools Aren't Ruining Interpersonal Relationships"

Long Distance Friendships

Captains' Meeting at a All of Utah Tournament
"When we aren't at events I seldom see them. Yet I consider them my friends...."

Many people focus on the negative of social media and other forms of digital communication. They say 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. My argument is people's social skills are enhanced by these tools. Pictured above 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.

Long Distance Collaboration: Nothing New  

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 were able to communicate and come together though the communication medium of the day, letters, to fight slavery and other social injustices. Without long distance collaboration would slavery have been abolished without a bloody civil war? They were a group of people from different parts of England who communicated and came together to not only change the world but also formed long lasting friendships in the process. 

"Without long distance collaboration would slavery have been abolished without a bloody civil war?"

I'm not saying Quidditch 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. 

Social Media Collaboration 

Crowd sourcing allows friends and family to contribute

"They even integrate these social media platforms with crowdfunding sites such as or"

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 amongst all 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. Here's a look at all the digital tools we use.  

Social Media/Digital Tools 

  • Instagram 
  • Facebook
  • Google Forms 
  • Twitter 
  • Websites
  • Email Groups
Let's take a closer look at some Social Media


All of Utah Quidditch Facebook page facilitates carpools. Facebook

Crowd funding  advertised through Facebook 
Facebook facilitates much of the communication that occurs between the members of the Quidditch community. The first picture shows an example from the All of Utah Quidditch players page, which allows players from all Utah teams to communicate and coordinate. In this picture players are coordinating rides to an event in the NorthWest. The second picture shows how Facebook is used to advertise events to friends and family outside the Quidditch circle, such as the Provo Quidditch crowdfunding campaign for a regional tournament.

Google Sheets

Typical Volunteer Form 
In the Quidditch community the work of volunteers.  These volunteers are from the teams 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 above. Google Forms, distributed through email and Facebook is used for volunteers to sign up for positions they would like to fill.


Many teams use crowdfunding to allow friends, family and acquaintances to support them and feel a part of the community. An effective a simple way to do this is through crowdfunding campaigns like the one pictured above. In this campaign the Utah State Quidditch is raising money to compete in the World Cup in South Carolina.

Did this actually build Friendships? 

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 doesn'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 some people are cut off from others through social media, let's remember it is called "social" media for a reason. People started using it in the first place because they wanted to be more social! All of the people pictured above found out about the event through Facebook. One of those pictured was on longer involved in Quidditch. The digital tools which allowed for the creation of a Quidditch team also allowed for me and the others pictured above to become long lasting friends. 
"The digital tools which allowed for the creation a a Quidditch team allowed for me and the others pictured above to become long lasting friends."

From Utah to UCLA, brought together with Quidditch

What do you think the role of social media will be in our society going forward? Will it help bring people together or tear them apart? I think it will depend on if we can see the good in social media and digital tools and use them to enhance our relationships. How can you use social media for good? That my friend is up to you. 

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