What has been lost or gained socially since *insert spiky bug name here*?

Recently, I’ve been asking myself five big life questions. The first of these musings was “what has been lost or gained socially since *insert spiky bug name here*”. What really is the social impact of covid? It seems to be rubbish in lots of ways, but many people are also finding silver linings.

It’s a funny thing. In some ways, it feels it’s never been easier to arrange a chat with someone; both personally and professionally. It simply takes less time online than going to meet face-to-face. I’ve loved chatting more often with friends who live a long distance away – knowing they’re likely at home makes it easier to call. Yet, it’s a socially stunted time – no random party chats, talking with the circle of acquaintances you can’t just Facetime.

I wonder whether online conf calls have had their day. The energy zapping, seat sitting, half-listening, disconnecting, accidental (un)muting… just OK quality conversation. So, how on earth do we make the online world more exciting and enjoyable? My pet theory on this is about finding ways to make the 2D screen space feel more 3D by stretching into people’s home world. What is the favourite book on that obligatory book shelf? How can a desk object objectify how we feel today? Is it weird or not to close our eyes and breathe on camera? Is it time to warm up our work meetings by engaging with our home spaces more. It could be the new lifework balance we want.

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