Autor: Anari Hagel • 23. märts 2020

Anari Hagel: When Isolation Unites

Foto: Anari Hagel
Quarantine is changing the way we communicate - video meetings are no longer just meetings, but common dinners or parties, writes Anari Hagel, editor at FoundME.io.

The first full week since the declaration of the state of emergency has passed with ups and downs. The spread of the virus is expanding and the news feed is mostly negative. We talk about saving companies and losing jobs. There is a lot of anxiety to go around. At the same time, there are many surprisingly positive developments going on in the areas of social communication.

The way people communicate and seek contact with one one another through digital channels has seen much criticism in the last decade. Much is talked about how young people "only sit behind the computer" and "no longer go outside". The reason is the ever-deepening digital world, which has a lot of exciting things to offer.

I, too, have isolated myself into my comfort zone and completely taken over communication with people via text messaging through social networking applications. Of course, I also meet my parents and friends face-to-face, but the meeting time is agreed and the quick exchange of information in between is still done through messaging. Calling another person at a completely random moment without agreeing beforehand almost seems rude.

Change in attitude

Even though I'm in a two-week quarantine at home, I'm working full sail and far from getting bored. Nevertheless, I have been more social than average, without violating any quarantine requirements while doing so. We are witnessing a shift in the way people communicate with each other. Put into extreme isolation, we are thirsting for a more genuine human contact than text messaging. The video-channels normally used for professional purposes have been taken over for social interactions.

On Friday night, I attended a live DJ session broadcasted with a video of a room, where people would normally be dancing, but this time the DJ was alone. The participants communicated in the form of comments and it felt as if I was actually there. On Saturday I had an early dinner via Zoom.us video meeting with Estonian friends and later the same with foreign friends. On Sunday, we shared breakfast over WhatsApp with my family and had pre-dinner snacks with friends from abroad. People do flash mobs around the world where they join each other on their windows or balconies for activities, like singing a song or playing instruments. For those who miss going to trainings, live sessions are provided via social media.

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My friends and I have already been wondering why we these joint video meetings haven't popped into our heads more often before, in order to involve those who temporarily live abroad or those who in the absence of a nanny would otherwise not have been able to participate in a get-together. After all, the means have long existed.

Closer to each other than before

Under normal circumstances, seeing friends who live near only through video would for sure be a waste, but such encounters with foreign friends could become a regular thing. Somehow it just doesn't reach us in our daily routine.

At last all these channels of social communication, developed over the years, are proving to be vital, not only for meaningless pasttime, but for actual human needs. The week ahead will bring me further invigorating discussions through video-meetings and even a birthday party.

A humorous video comes to mind, illustrating the situation, where friends try to find a common time for a video-meeting to alleviate the loneliness brought by the quarantine. Due to their tight social schedules though, they must conclude to better wait until a more relaxed time.

We are emotionally closer to each other than ever before and are not afraid to say it out. We use the options we have and draw on the energy from social interactions to continue to do our job effectively. There should be no reason for loneliness, due to isolation brought on by the virus outbreak.


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