The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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Reel-est mini escape from reality

Instagram Reels are the best option for short-form content
Aryaa Sharma
Sophomore Joycelyn Ansah scrolls through the Explore tab on Instagram, sharing the unique, short Reels she finds with her friends.

In the hustle and bustle of life, we as students often find ourselves trying to catch up with everyone else. We are subject to heavy workloads, activity-filled schedules, and conflicts in personal relationships, which become unbearable without any de-stressors. We turn to our phones in times like these, hoping to find some distraction that slows our minds down from our fast-paced lives. This so-called “distraction” can’t be too long, because we do still have a pile of homework to finish, but it can’t be too short and not satisfy us, either. 

Luckily, many social media platforms offer a happy medium for many teenagers: the short and sweet 15-second video. Whether one finds this video on YouTube Shorts, TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Snapchat Spotlight, it serves as the perfect distraction for many students; you never know what the next video will be, but if you don’t like it, you can always scroll to find another one. One more short-form video turns into twenty, and eventually, you realize you’ve spent the last hour scrolling instead of finishing that pile of homework. 

We all know these platforms are addicting, and most of us find ourselves scrolling through our day-to-day lives. There’s something unique about each platform. Although they all offer 15 seconds of short-lived happiness, each app has something to offer that is different from the others. And there is one app that is often overlooked for its benefits to the user: Instagram. 

Instagram was initially created as a photo-sharing app, but it now features short videos known as Instagram Reels. These Reels are featured in the “Explore” tab, similar to TikTok’s “For You” page, and can also be discovered in the stories users post or on newsfeeds. On TikTok, users are limited to viewing these short videos through the “For You” page or the “Following” page.

Additionally, Instagram Reels allow users to see which people liked certain videos that pop up on the “Explore” tab. This is not possible on any other social media platform. By allowing users to see who specifically liked certain videos, they can gain a better understanding of the people they follow. Perhaps your friend liked a reel that shows a recipe for chocolate chip cookies; if that shows up on your “Explore” page, you can see that your friend liked it, and now you have an idea of what to bake to make them happy. 

One feature of TikTok that is not found in Instagram reels is the “Repost” feature, which allows users to share certain videos with their friends and followers. Furthermore, TikTok allows users to publicize or privatize the videos they have liked, but there is no ability to do so on reels. However, Instagram users can “repost” certain short-form videos by posting on a “Close Friends” story. In fact, people can choose who they want to view their “Close Friends” story, but on TikTok, reposts are available to everyone. 

Reels appeal to users who are already familiar with Instagram, which means they do not need to download a separate app (such as TikTok) to consume video content. Reels are integrated, which means users can browse photos, stories, and reels without physically leaving the app, making it convenient for most users who prefer having all of their social media activities in one place. 

Although each short-form video platform offers something different for the user, they all provide the same distraction we seek from our daily lives. However, something unique about Reels is that they serve as a constant reminder that we are not so detached from the people around us; even though we may be mindlessly scrolling through the “Explore” tab on Instagram, searching for mini-distractions from the pressing problems in our lives, the ability to see the videos that our friends and following like can connect us to the people we know in real life in a deeper level. 

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