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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

Is a Social Media Component Always Necessary?

Letterboxd.+a+social+media+app+centered+around+movies+and+sharing+reviews.
Letterboxd. a social media app centered around movies and sharing reviews.

With media like music, movies or books, there are new apps to add the social component into consumption of them. With apps like Airbuds, Letterboxd, Goodreads, etc, people are able to view what music, books and movies their friends are currently interested in. With a new fun way to connect with friends and share similarities and a way to even track your own stats, it can also put more pressure on the way that people are consuming media because they are now aware that it is on public display for their friends to see and judge. 

An app called Airbuds, released in 2022, syncs to the user’s music streaming service and tracks each user’s top few artists, repeated songs and albums as well as stats on their minutes listened, numbers of artists and tracks played. A wrap-up of all of this information is released every week as well as a home feed that constantly updates the user of all the songs their friends have been listening to at all times. A user’s friends have access to all of this. There is a feature of “ghost mode” on the app that allows users to hide their activity from friends for a maximum of one hour at a time, a user would have to reset that feature every hour if they wanted to keep their activity hidden for longer. Letterboxd is essentially the same thing but for movies and Goodreads does this for books but on other apps it is up to the user to log what they are reading/watching, what they want to read/watch or their reviews on books/movies. If the user doesn’t log anything, their friends cannot see any of their activity in books/movies. And on all apps, users can see how many friends other users have, making the services a little more like Instagram or Facebook by adding the concern of how many people users are friends with. 

Airbuds app icon.

Apps like these can also change the way people consume content. Because they know that their friends can see what they’re doing, people might avoid listening to music that they find embarrassing or logging/rating books or movies that are. In turn, they might also listen to, read or watch things just because others might think those things are cool. They might also work to consume more media to achieve a certain stat on the app like having a high amount of listening minutes such as how Spotify users might strive to have a high listening minute count on their yearly Spotify wrapped. Because there is that pressure that their activity is being tracked, people change their habits, whether consciously or subconsciously, begging the question of whether these new apps do more harm than good.

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Alyssa Perera
Alyssa Perera, Reporter
Hi, I'm Alyssa! This is my second year on newspaper staff. I love baking, reading and watching TV. I'm really looking forward to this year!
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