With the pandemic of COVID-19 has come the necessity of social distancing and isolation, a measure taken by dozens of nations to flatten the virus’s curve. During this time, we are staying home and avoiding physical contact with our loved ones. But, good news, we can still socialize at a distance, a concept that younger generations are certainly more in tune with given technology and the multitude of ways it can be used to interact with family, friends and strangers alike. For someone like Lindsay Guion, CEO, and Chairman of GUION PARTNERS, using technology at work as well as in his leisure time, is part of his everyday routine. As the head of a media management and consulting firm, Guion has to connect with people in different time zones and send his work all over the world at a moment’s notice. It’s a way of living that may be more foreign to some compared to others, but the digital age and its plethora of tools can assuredly help strengthen our real-world ties if we use them the right way.
Reshaping Our Relationship with Technology
One thing we know for certain about interacting through online culture is that being an active participant in it is far better than passively consuming it. Research shows that people who use social media actively, by sending messages, leaving comments or talking in group chats, report being happier than those who simply scroll through their feeds, absorbing news stories and viral videos. In an effort to reshape our relationship with technology and use it to the fullest during this pivotal time of social distancing, here are a few specific ways to use technology to connect with others.
A Wide Range of Social Platforms
Even with movie theatres being closed and people being unable to come to you for a regularly sanctioned movie night, there are still ways to get around this. Guion suggested Facebook Watch Party, which does require that the video being watched is uploaded on Facebook, but could work for screening filmed mementos together with family. Likewise, with the application Discord, you are able to coordinate a screen share for up to 50 people, with one person setting-up a film on their screen and everyone else being able to join in on the fun.
Hang Out in Groups – From a Distance
One of the most fundamental tools for group gatherings has proven to be the platform Zoom, now expanding far past its professional purpose as the go-to app for video conference calling, in that families, schools, and groups of friends have been using it in spades for a wide range of unexpected encounters.
Failing Zoom, Guion also recommends FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Facebook Messenger, just to name a few. Shifting your after-work drinks, midday coffee, or book club onto a video platform may take some getting used to, but those are just some of the ways people are connecting through chat or activity.
Finding Ways to Remain Connected
In whatever way you choose to use the aforementioned apps, through their varied uses, they are accomplishing one important job – bringing people together. In this vein, technology is very much a boost in helping people combat loneliness and in staying socially engaged during COVID-19. How we use technology can be a gift we give ourselves, one that leaves us feeling connected and productive, despite barely leaving the house.