I love technology. It’s my profession so I think it’s easier for someone like me to really enjoy all the cool things it can do.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, you had to either make a phone call or do an in-person visit to really understand how people were doing and to stay connected. That proved to put people at risk.
You could send a letter (remember those?). It wasn’t a good system, and we really didn’t know how our friends, colleagues and loved ones were doing.
We can now Zoom, Skype, and Facetime. We can participate in virtual video meetings, share photos, videos and all kinds of quarantine memes with our community. It doesn’t “cost” us anything in terms of safety, or even sanity, and we can take them at whatever pace works for us.
It may seem like a trivial thing, but it means the world to our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues alike. Those of us with families sometimes take our situation for granted compared with people who are either alone, disabled, or just need a break from trying to figure out.
That contact that we make… the “just checking in” means a HUGE amount to the recipients, and as much as they say “you don’t need to worry,” the reality is, it means everything to them that you DO worry. I know people think texting it’s impersonal, but it’s vastly better than nothing, and much more impactful than people are giving it conscious credit for.
I would encourage everyone to think about how technology is allowing us to connect and stay linked to the outside world. While you do, think about anything you could be doing better, and how you can help those that need it to stay connected.
Google, Amazon, and Apple all have devices that can help people in their homes get safety information, the current news or just relax and listen to music, audio books, or other recorded or live content. All of this helps us stay connected, feel less isolated and makes this whole situation just a little easier.
In my home, Alexa (the Amazon Echo) is the most used piece of technology by far, way more than computers, mobile devices or TV. Game consoles paired with excellent voice and video chats are allowing people of all ages to interact, work together, blow off steam, and socially interact without putting anyone at risk.
As a community we will make it through this, but there is likely going to be a lasting impact (both negative and postive) from this whole ordeal.
The reality is that life will be now more technology-driven. I have faith that communities, businesses and schools are going to be more successful, resilient and prepared for the eventual next “event” (and let us hope that’s a long way off). We will all need to start preparing now to adapt to the rapidly changing technology environment.
I for one am very optimistic and excited to see what the next transformation will look like. I can’t wait to see how all of us grow from this experience! Take steps now to come out of this as well as you possibly can. There definitively is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And don’t forget to text (or call) your mom!
Jeremie Mailloux is virtual chief information officer at itWORKS!