The Luxury of Social Media and Technology During the Pandemic
It would be hard to imagine a world experiencing a pandemic without social media and modern technology. I was just reflecting on the times of true lockdown and found that, besides my family and close loved ones, I was using my phone to keep up communication with everyone else in my life. Whether it be through texts, phone calls, facetimes, or social media interactions, I could maintain communication with friends all across the country and maintain my relationships. I was able to start up a zoom bible study with nearly 15 friends from campus. But I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to not have that luxury. I can imagine the frustration of not being able to return to school would have been much more severe. Not having any idea of what was to come, I was initially relieved to receive an extra week of spring break. But having to forfeit half of a semester, unsure of when I would return, ended up being a challenging concept for me. Not being able to keep up with my friends and those I was closest to would have been far worse. Social media and modern day technology have completely changed the way people interact. We can have lasting, meaningful relationships with those we may not see for months and reunite without having missed a beat. We can stream shows together, at the exact same time, with a chat box on the side to make it seem as though we are watching as a group. We can host group facetime and zooms calls to all be “together again”. While these things could have never replaced the time of being actually together, they surely did lessen the blow of having to be apart. Social media and technology seem to always get assigned negative connotations from society. But how much worse would mental health have declined in the US during the opening months of the pandemic without it? I think social media and technology have negatively impacted our society in a lot of ways, but it is important to highlight some of the great benefits they have brought as well. Once again, another example of affordances and constraints presented by modern day technology. However, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe these things were exceptional tools that we were able to take advantage of to lessen the blow of the many challenges that accompany a period of such isolation.