The 2020 Dilemma: Deciding on the Best Online Platforms

(Photo originally published by Jessica Dutton on November 1, 2019) Junior Jessica Dutton’s cell phone showcases five social media apps.

Social media during the pandemic has become a crucial component to connecting with friends, family, co-workers, and other essential people, but the ways one might go about it vary from person to person.

Exploring the pros and cons of different media platforms can be time-consuming and simply not worth it to most people. One might be tempted to settle for one platform, but it’s important not to forget: there are other options.

Junior Sequoia Harris said that her preferred method of contacting with her friends and extended family was FaceTime because it was easy to use. FaceTime offers the benefits of an in-person experience while side-stepping the struggles of the pandemic. Harris also said that she uses Messenger to interact with her friends more simplistically.

“With my friends and family something will come up that I’m excited to share, so the immediacy of ‘Marco Polo’ is more fun than waiting for a Teams meeting,” said English teacher Katie Klostermann.

Marco Polo is a unique app that offers an option where the user doesn’t need to be live to interact with their loved ones. This makes the app a different experience than others with the added benefit of being free to use and available for most phone types.

Another app that one can use to talk to their friends is Discord. Discord is an invite-only chatroom based app that allows friends and possible family to connect. The app can be used for different groups, including but not limited to club activities or finding people who have shared interests. Like Marco Polo, Discord is a free to download, very accessible app.

Despite all of these other interesting platforms, by far the most popular is Zoom. What is Zoom? Well, Zoom is incredibly, and I mean incredibly popular social media platform that overshadows the other preferred platforms for social communication.

“I use Zoom to communicate with my parents because that is the platform that their nursing home uses… I am grateful to have this technology because I am no longer allowed to see them in person due to the pandemic,” said English teacher David Miles.

Miles went on to add that Zoom is similar to the platform the students of Air Academy use to attend class, Microsoft Teams. However, it is a more relaxed platform that he is comfortable using to talk with his parents.

Chemistry teacher Rachel Valiquette also uses Microsoft Teams to connect with students about assignments and conduct class, but she added during her interview that Zoom is her preferred means of connection.

“When connecting with family, I typically use Zoom or a phone call. My parents are currently located in San Antonio, Texas, and I use my phone every day to both text and call them,” said Valiquette.

Overall, Zoom seems to be one of the most, if not the most popular social media platform for students and friends in 2020. According to teachers and students, the other apps simply cannot compare to Zoom’s popularity, though all of them have their interesting components.

Despite the popularity of these apps, however, in-person communication remains superior among staff and students of Air Academy.

Though in these tough times, these are a reliable alternative to face-to-face speaking.

In-person communication is far superior. Information can get lost in translation when using a variety of multi-media formats. When you are communicating in-person, it is much easier to make sure that you are clear and concise and it is also easier to make sure the individual on the receiving end of the message understands,” said Valiquette.

Face to face interactions are preferred by the majority of people, as it allows for less misinterpretation and greater responsiveness in conversations. It also allows for more sentimental value among groups when talking with one another. In-person communication is invigorating and more stimulating than online communication. However, because of the pandemic online interaction is a more suitable alternative.

With Zoom, Marco Polo, and various other social media platforms, communication can be sometimes repetitive and confusing, but with the pandemic, they become necessary to use. Whether using Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, sometimes the issues and complexities of these platforms need to be ignored, but overall the friendships, learning, and interactions that are drawn from them are worth it.