How technology keeps us connected, now more than ever

Britta de Vries
March 17th 2020

At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each other. Despite the fact that people are physically distancing themselves, it is in many cases still possible to attend social activities — from celebrating birthday parties to a virtual bar mitzvah — all thanks to technology.

Being alone, together

Television is finding a way to change its content in order to still be able to produce. New television formats are rapidly being created and are causing the rise of cloud-based reality shows, where reality stars need a phone or a computer with a good network to be a part of a show. The viewer and and other contestants are simply calling in from their homes.

On a similar note, televised talk shows have come to resemble video conferences, with guests keeping the shows running by filming within their homes.

Now more than ever, we realize the importance of technology such as the internet because it affords us to stay connected. On a more social level, people are using #coronahelp on Twitter to get in touch with others in need of help, and offer help on an abundance of topics such as doing their groceries, dog sitting and babysitting. This shows how Twitter allows us to stay in touch with others and brings us in contact with people we have otherwise not been in contact with.

Moreover, an abundance of social activities now take place online. Students are still able to follow lectures, but instead of physically this now takes place virtually. For the younger (Dutch) students among us, television channels are changing their schedules and content in order to still provide educational material. For the people working at home, different technologies offer the possibility to still have lunch together with your colleagues.

Going out, inside

While it is no longer possible to go to the cinema, the implementation of a Watch Party in Facebook allows users to watch the same content together and to be able to talk about it. Facebook has partnered with global health organizations to share accurate information on disease prevention and connecting users with tools to help manage their communities.

Since the audience of concerts are no longer welcome due to the coronavirus, bands and artists like Coldplay and John Legend provide live 'concerts' via Instagram Live, YouTube and Facebook Live, so that people can still enjoy the performance.

Nightclubs closed? Not a problem. “Cloud Raves” are streamed on the internet, which millions of people watch. People are able to watch DJs perform on TikTok and can comment on them in real time, giving the illusion that everyone is partying together. Some people even say that partying in the cloud is better than in real life.

Online events like this have been around for a while, but its popularity is on the rise as many people in China are forced to sit at home due to the viral epidemic. During the cloud concerts, viewers will see edited images of previous performances by bands. In all technicality, it is not live, but the appeal is that you are all watching at the same time and you can share comments in real time.

Daily rituals, digitally

While our physical lives may have come to a stand-still, a lot of our daily rituals now take place in the virtual domain. With no more school to go to, closed gyms and not being able to go on holidays anymore, it is important to keep doing our daily rituals.

Think for instance about a work-out at home instead of going to the gym. There are a lot of options for the gym fanatics who would still like to keep in shape during this pandemic: such as online workout challenges or joining workouts from the rooftop, and perhaps even to join the Corona Fit body bootcamp.

After all, at this moment we can benefit from developing digital daily rituals which still have the ability to support meaningful human connections, which are becoming more and more important, now more than ever.

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!

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What is your view on the coronavirus?


Siri Beerends: I really embrace the idea that viruses can teach us a lesson in modesty. It is necessary that our position as the dominant species on the planet is being challenged. I also agree that it is a mistake to think that we are becoming Gods. But unfortunately, this is actually what is happening now. Corona doesn’t teach us to be modest, it teaches us how we can -as quickly as possible- go back to business as usual: saving our capitalistic economy.

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