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The Shift in Digital Culture

More than 2 years ago, the world shutdown with the outbreak of COVID and virtually everything possible shifted to digital and remote. It was almost obscure to even consider face-to-face meetups. Companies cut down on conferences and business trips, turning everything to remote venues. Schools went virtual too, and kids were literally doing gym following YouTube tutorials. 

But after a few years of living in this new lifestyle, the world is beginning to open up again and shift closer to the way things were pre-COVID. Meeting people face-to-face instead of over Zoom is now pushed for at companies. Though, I can’t deny that being greeted with a beaming smile is much better than a profile pic or black screen when conversing. 

It’s tough because a part of us has gotten used to virtual meetups and remote work, but another part of us is also craving human connectedness that is more tactile and present rather than digital and virtual. 

Do you feel this shift too? Do you miss the social interactions you used to engage in with friends, family, and coworkers?

This summer was honestly the first time since COVID that I began meeting up with friends, collaborators, and clients in-person. For the longest time (or at least what seemed like forever), I’ve been relying on Zoom, Google Meet, WhatsApp, and Instagram video calls. Granted, several of the people I connect with are international, so I’m still running things remotely for the most part, but nothing beats human interaction that’s not on the computer screen. 

I had the pleasure to meet l’eupe while he was in town, caught up with Kromatix_, visited family, and reconnected with old friends from university like the old days. Honestly, it was probably the most fun I had in the past 2 years. Being able to interact with them directly, engaging in activities together, and laughing about something without a few second delay was amazing. I began asking myself, what took me so long to reach out and feel comfortable enough to start meeting up in-person with people again. Without doubt, I missed this sort of social interaction.

With the world learning to live with COVID rather than being sheltered from it, I wouldn’t be surprised if more industries start shifting their digital culture again. Many universities are now offering in-class lectures in the fall, companies have transitioned to a hybrid model where employees go in to work at least 3 times a week, and more city-wide events or festivals are being run to promote larger gatherings. Obviously, there are still certain risks involved with COVID, and I don’t believe changes to our lifestyle would change the fact that COVID still exists. However, knowing how to engage in things safely, like wearing a mask in larger gatherings and choosing off-peak times to hang out, might be a good workaround to the situation to allow you to be social, but safe in a crowd. 

Humans are social beings. We crave interactions. We subconsciously mirror other’s actions and connect with them on an emotional level by anticipating our physical responses to certain actions. When someone asks a question, we naturally want to answer, even if it’s “I don’t know.” When someone is crying, we want to comfort them and let them know it’s okay. Even if it’s a stranger, we still feel like we should do something to help. That’s because this is what makes us human, makes us alive, and makes us who we are. So, if you’re feeling like you need to get outside and interact with people, do – it has been too long and it’s time to get back to a somewhat normal (pre-COVID) lifestyle.

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