Creating an online community 2.0

Ria Walls gains fresh perspectives as she revisits her conversation on the importance of building on-screen connections

For this issue I delved deeper into the World Wide Web and spoke to a few more online creators about what they do on their various social media platforms. Join me as I chat to Sofia and Fern in regards to their virtual ventures. 

Studying Across The Ocean

Sofia Wilson, a Senior Fresher Biological and Biomedical Science student, runs an online blog that details her experiences away from home. Originally from Connecticut, Wilson moved to Ireland when she began studying at Trinity. Through her writing she aims to help first year students, especially international ones, navigate their way about college life in the Emerald Isle when they are so far from home. While she loves studying in Dublin, WIlson can’t deny the intimidating feelings she had when she first moved here from the other side of the globe. To ease first years in, she directed her initial blog posts towards students moving out of their home and into Trinity Hall.

Wilson’s first post — titled ‘What I Wish I Knew Before Arriving’ —  gained popularity as several students read her advice on what to expect from student life in Dublin. In this blog she described the best place to do your weekly shop, how to get an Irish SIM card, and how to find your way around the town of Rathmines. Speaking about her own experiences, Wilson says: “If I had known all this information before I had arrived at Halls it definitely would have decreased a lot of stress”.

For anyone who, like myself and Sofia, moved far away from the familiarity of home and into a town hours away, the feelings of isolation and seclusion are never far away. That is why creating safe online communities proves to be useful, as you are not only helping others to find their feet at university, but you are also reflecting upon your experiences as a first year student and seeing how much you have grown since moving out.

To read Sofia’s posts for yourself you can find her blog on under ‘studyacrosstheocean’, and on Instagram @studyingacrosstheocean. Stay tuned for her upcoming pieces on restaurants and pubs as the restrictions are lifting! 

Charity Shop Glam

Fern Kelly-Landry, a Junior Sophister student studying Sociology and English Literature, talked to me about her Instagram account dedicated to second hand shopping. On her platform, which she refers to as her ‘creative outlet’, she posts pictures of clothes and accessories that she has purchased from charity shops. When talking about her inspiration for creating this fashion community, Kelly-Landry recalls herself as a child browsing in charity shops and always feeling excited at the new and different items she found — she describes it as being a “new experience every time”. Now, when wearing clothing she has thrifted, Kelly-Landry receives compliments and is met with surprise and admiration when she reveals that the items were found in a charity shop. As well as this, the sustainability and affordability of it is a great element.

Using Instagram as her outlet, Kelly-Landry addresses the stigma that second hand items are often met with. She aims to end this sense of shame and embarrassment; there is nothing to be ashamed about when you are fighting against fast fashion. Through her posts, Kelly-Landry encourages her followers to take the more sustainable route and find enjoyment in charity shopping.

 Talking about her passion for fashion, she states: “I like the idea of documenting the many versatile ways you can style things you own, and how you can breathe new life into someone else’s old clothes.” Kelly-Landry places emphasis on the idea that regardless of the previous owners, items purchased from charity shops are new to you. She personally recommends the large range of second hand shops on George’s Street, Camden Street, and in Rathmines. 

When talking about her social media platform, Kelly-Landry emphasises the importance of having an online community. She recalls that during lockdown, when one of our only outlets was social media, she met so many people that she would not have encountered otherwise. Through her social media, Kelly-Landry is able to promote positivity by combatting fast fashion and providing alternatives to the issue of overconsumption of unethical clothing. She is active in encouraging her followers to act sustainably in their everyday lives.

To see Fern’s flavour for all things fashion, check out her Instagram @charityshopglam.