Staying Connected While Physically Isolated
By: Lily Stone
As of: December 10th, 2020
Isolation leads to frantically grabbing at any form of connection you can get. Humans thrive off connection between not only their families, but also through daily interaction with their friends or their colleagues. The implementation of a socially distanced culture fostered the need to stay connected. Through applications like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime, poeple have had to use these platforms mroe frequently to foster and maintain interactions when we are physically far apart.
Zoom became very popular, very suddenly as soon as individuals needed to stay inside, away from social activities. We still, to this day, are using the application for our education, but the early days of scheduled zoom meetings was something we used to simply stay connected. Virtual social gatherings are what we all needed to stay sane in a time where we felt so alone. Beginning March 18th, Zoom has become the top free app for iPhone in the United States, and still holds that standard today. Not only did Zoom take our app store by storm for the purpose of families connecting, but we are continuing to use the platform for our education and many businesses have taken on the application as well. In three months, Zoom went from racking in a 167 million dollar revenue, to being a 777 million dollar company.
How is staying connected through applications like zoom positive for us? Zoom was something almost everyone held meetings on in the thick of lockdown. One event created were 'zoom parties', some even including dress up theme nights or party games. Not only did the platforms hosting meetings skyrocket in downloads, but virtual party games that individuals could connect through their phones while online also became something people could add to the new norm. Apps like Houseparty, PSYCH, and countless others rose higher on the app store, and even the least competitive family members started to take part in something that felt normal for a small time period.
Nobody expected to have a virtual birthday party, or a virtual Thanksgiving, or soon, a virtual Christmas. While it is something one does not prepare for, the technology that became increasingly popular gave us something to fall back on. Simply browsing the web for tips on hosting a 'Zoom Thanksgiving', countless web pages come up with tips on how to keep the family comfortable, virtually, including cooking together, doing a practice zoom, playing charades, and plenty more. Keeping up family traditions can be incredibly hard in light of a pandemic, but connecting virtually can make things feel a little more normal.
In light of a pandemic keeping us all cooped up indoors (and soemtimes incredibly bored), it was important to check on our loved ones susceptible to addiction. Not only did we need to connect with our families, friends, and coworkers, but individuals struggling with addiction, or even presently sober, needed to adapt to new recovery services or ways to ask for help. While it can be looked at in a negative light, having individuals relapse over the course of spending a lot of time alone, we can also see the positive in this unfortunate outcome. Many individuals struggling with addiction may not have been able to bring themselves to walk through the doors of a help centre, but a digital meeting may seem less daunting. Many addiction services have actually permanently altered their process of screening individuals, understanding that the option of virtual meetings may be incredibly welcoming, and an easier way to attempt to help oneself. The fear of walking through an addiction centre's doors can be put aside, and an anxious individual may be more likely to engage in help digitally. All of the stated points can be directed towards the mental health field as well. Lockdown was incredibly hard for individuals who struggle with mental health issues, but may be more apt to meet with someone digitally to talk about what they are going through.
While plenty of obvious negatives come with a pandemic, the times we are in led us to conduct an incredible amount of virtual connections. Connecting with friends on a Friday night to play online party games, having a board meeting through your laptop camera, hosting a Thanksgiving cooking afternoon, or even taking the first virtual step to get help with your addiction or mental health issues, helped us maintain the feeling of staying socailly connected, while staying physically distanced.
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