Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said or heard, “It just doesn’t feel real”. The escalation of the coronavirus crisis threw everyone’s lives into disarray as we grappled to cope with a threat which moved a lot faster than we did. Now, as we grace our 5th week of lockdown, many of us are starting to adapt to life in quarantine. And one of the biggest players in this new everyday is the internet.
Video Call Apps
Over a month ago, most of us had never heard of the app Houseparty, the phrase instead concocting images of the raucous, dimly lit pool parties of American teen dramas. But by the end of March, Houseparty was the top social app and second overall app to Zoom, which topped download charts across the globe. These once insignificant words now dominate conversations in both the corporate and the social world, bringing us together in a unified community like never before.
Many of us have almost daily interactions on these apps, despite actually being alone in our rooms. This trend can also be seen in the likes of social media, online gaming and messaging apps, with usage spiking during the lockdown period. With so many of us moving our lives online, I can’t help but feel like I’m spiralling uncontrollably into the futuristic worlds of Hollywood blockbusters. My life has become a ‘Ready Player One’ reality where my ‘true world’ is that of the work, friends and family I access when I log on, and my life in the real world merely the time between.
In The Future
So the question remains, what will happen when it’s all over. Many of us would think it will all bounce back to ‘normal’. However, I believe a period of this significance will forever change our social and working relationships. Whether that be the resurgence of the conference call, a turn to the convenience of zoom meetings or simply a greater appreciation of physical interactions when we can once again gather in a single room. With so many more of us gaining online literacy, the internet’s role will only grow in the future of business, and its potential to improve our productivity and protect our environment should be embraced as we move back into the real world.