I’ve always joked that communications technology and I grew up together. Without getting into ages, here’s my trail of tech:
In eighth grade, I convinced my father that I needed a pager because, well, everyone had one.
That was about the same time that I was making sure my AIM (if that’s not familiar to you, I suggest you Ask Jeeves) screenname wasn’t lame.
In high school, I became a snake charmer on my Nokia phone and, of course, I got the Razr when that came out.
For a while now, I’ve been enjoying a very committed relationship with my iPhone 6, and don’t tell me I must update anything!
The vicious cycle of what I thought of as “aging with technology” has continued throughout my adult years. However, current events make it clear that it’s not about growing up with technology, but more so about how technology has been growing to keep us connected.
Turn on the news. What’s the first thing you hear? “Covid-19 … Flatten the Curve … STAY HOME.”
Thanks to modern technology, staying home doesn’t mean we have to feel like we’re so far away from one another. Here are a few examples:
Taking charge of the video conferencing realm, Zoom has become a household name. Whether it’s for a corporate meeting, a virtual happy hour with friends, or gathering with family to sing happy birthday to Aunt Lucy, Zoom and similar providers are bridging a very wide gap. True story: my first Zoom experience involved me accidentally dropping in on a management meeting. Pretty sure they just saw my startled face and maybe heard an “oh shhh…” right before I quickly closed out the window (sorry, boss).
Who are we kidding? What is forced time at home without binge-watching Netflix? With the help of a browser extension, Netflix Party allows friends and family to have watch parties together. Although maybe not in the same living room, it’s the next best thing… and no one can steal my popcorn. Shows or movies can be watched simultaneously while a group chat is displayed. This way, everyone can discuss their thoughts on what they think happened to Carole Baskin’s husband.
Music has always been a way to bring people together. DJ D-Nice is making history on Instagram with #ClubQuarantine. Spinning live for up to 10 hours and drawing a virtual crowd that at one point grew to 160,000 people, he only takes small breaks for ‘wardrobe changes’ – his famous hats. With guests like Michelle Obama, Diddy, even Mark Zuckerberg, people from all over the world are coming together and dancing as D-Nice plays songs from all decades. Now I can say that I partied with Oprah as I danced to music that brought me back to the days when I sported my pager.
Someday, hopefully soon, we’ll all be back together again. But until then, let’s let tech keep us as close as we can be.