The Bright-er Side: Isolating introduced me to some of my dearest friends online

Social media kept me more social than I thought possible during this pandemic

ILLUSTRATION: Siloam Yeung / The Peak

By: Paige Riding, Copy Editor

It seemed the more weekends I went out drinking pre-pandemic, the faster my socialization meter would run out. If I knew back then that weekends out with friends would be snatched away faster than I could say, “I’m kind of tired, I think I’ll get an Uber” when the third Drake remix of the night played, my patience may have stretched a bit further.

It took a lockdown for me to discover other enjoyable pastimes with friends that didn’t involve spending too much money and mentally exhausting myself — pastimes which were on Discord and other social media platforms I’d never thought to utilize before. All I needed was my laptop and the courage to join a call full of gamers when I couldn’t tell you the difference between League of Legends and Valorant if you held me at gunpoint.

Discord offers voice call or video options with as many people at a time as you can find at once. While people often associate Discord with video game talk, this is not its sole purpose. Any individuals in the call may share their screen, thus showing any videos or images they want to others, speak with their counterparts with fairly clear audio, and even start a Spotify “listening party” to play music concurrently with any people who choose to join.

Now that “nights out” involve me diverting my stare from the bottom of an entire wine bottle to a laptop screen full of my friends’ icons, I realize it wasn’t my socialization meter that was running out; it was my patience for social norms pushing things on me I didn’t really want to do for the sake of maintaining a social life.

I am grateful for Discord’s bug-eyed mascot for introducing me to some new people I otherwise may never have met. We stay up talking for hours, maintaining some sense of much-needed normalcy.

If you recall the blissfully optimistic “Among Us/Tiger King/baking so much bread your grandma is in awe” pandemic era, that is when this app first introduced me to some of my dearest friends.

Our friendships have humble beginnings, but with skribbl.io, Gartic Phone, and Netflix readily available as we talk, our fun game and movie nights now make me more excited to hang out with friends in person later. Plus, it doesn’t even give me the same stomach-wrenching anxiety Zoom does, so that’s a plus.