8th Feb 2021
When the world moved inside we moved onto our digital devices as a way to stay connected. It began with an intensity that surprised us all. A world of Zoom, of Facetime, of Google Meet, of Microsoft Teams. A mass of quizzes, group family chats, zoom hen nights and zoom birthday parties that dictated our evenings and held us together.
Then came the inevitable ‘zoom doom’. The intensity was unsustainable and people fell out of love with the constant connection to others. The constant ‘availability’ of being accessible to all 24/7 began to take its toll and people withdrew. In this recent lockdown period whilst events have continued over zoom, the constant weekly quizzes and catch ups and chats have fizzled out. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t as connected. Perhaps it’s simply that those connections are now more subtle and perhaps, arguably, deeper.
When we reflect on friendships throughout this last 12 months, yes there are some that have perhaps been altered in negative ways but the ones that have altered for the better, by far outweigh those that have drifted. The bonds people have made through their struggles have formed solid friendships that just didn’t exist in the same way pre – covid.
Home- made birthday cards and birthday cakes dropped on doorsteps, tears of frustration and fear shared on walks. Walks where friends communicated without the distraction of food or drink and just spoke. Connections were formed, and strengthened, on group chats where we texted rather than zoomed, where we virtually supported each other through the struggles we were all facing together. A community brought together by our words whilst we were physically forced apart.
Online communities flourished. We realized the significance that our social media held over our mental wellbeing. Why spend our days scrolling passively through accounts that made us feel bad about ourselves when instead we could fill our newsfeeds with positivity and proactivity? So we did! And so, the dynamic of social media changed. It became less about influencers and more about interaction. Supporting each other, forging friendships, helping people who were once strangers by adding a drop of positivity to their timelines. And we shared. The perfectly filtered photos were replaced with natural, real photos where we really saw each other. Where barriers were broken down. Where we really helped each other. Where we were kind to one another.
And so, whilst the world continues to make sense of what the future looks like, what has altered for the better is the way we communicate, the way we connect. There is a lot that we will be glad to see return as the world changes yet again, but what will remain are these new connections. Created remotely. Forged through adversity. Strengthened by kindness.
As Howard Zinn so aptly wrote: ‘Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.’
So, let’s keep those connections and change the world for the better.
Lucy Howard, BulliesOut Digital Communications Officer
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