Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why” and “Leaders Eat Last” says, that being connected is not the same thing as (actually) connecting. Only when we meet people, face to face, can we form the kinds of meaningful connections that truly matter in our lives.
A few weeks back I wrote about how hospitality establishments pivot their business during the isolating and distanced pandemic. One of them is by hosting a virtual tour of their property. That alone had Sarah and me thinking, what else has this new world order pushed us to change in terms of how technology works around the necessary distancing?
Theoretically, businesses that can truly connect us all either digitally, or in person, should have thrived. And at the beginning of this pandemic, it might have appeared so. We shifted drastically into Zoom meetings and seminars. Social platforms catered to this need by maximizing their live features – be it video or audio. Facebook started first, then Instagram, TikTok, and podcasts. Clubhouse pioneered the exclusive online discussion before Twitter joined the bandwagon with Space.
Other developments reached broader mediums and topics such as gaming, exercise or much awaited annual events. The latter catapulted the of Zoom-based classes, religious services or performances, VR experiences, and real life events adapted for the home viewers like what they did with Art Basel and New York Fashion Week. This increase in digital meetups gave us a glimmer of hope. Hope that physical connection won’t matter much (or won’t be needed much), now that technology can bridge the gap.
Of course, the case has never been that easy. Technology that is designed to connect us has driven us apart. It was all but a calming escapism, a faux deep social bond to everyone else. All those online meetings would only make us long for meaningful connection afterwards. Heavy social media increases risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm – especially because of Covid-19. What was made to make us closer eventually eidens that already hollow gap. Now that the backlash has matured – we are seeking out technology that truly delivers a more human connection.
In the end, we, as humans, have a very complicated relationship with technology. Really, not all cases are as bad as those I mentioned above. Many can limit their online presence or addiction to the minimum. The most evident example is the wave of “work from Bali” crowd. They sure take the “Bali” part into a considerable priority, and the “work” part down to the bare essentials. And seeing that many could stay more than six-seven months in the island, I’m guessing the winning formula is actually the other way around: it’s technology to function, and real connection to live – however way you feel it should be.