Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Constant virtual interaction and saying ‘no’ to online plans

We live in a world where the conversation never stops. Though an afternoon meeting a friend for a coffee will eventually come to a close, the discussion can instantly continue online. Social media apps like Facebook or Instagram allow individuals to be eternally talking through chat and video calls for as long as they like. There is nothing to stop conversations from finishing, except a poor internet connection.

In a way, this is a wonderful thing. While I try not to look at my screen all the time, and understand those who argue that social media has, ironically, made society less sociable, I think the ability to communicate with individuals across the world is something to cherish. The internet has allowed generations and cultures from across the globe to come together to share stories, lives and ideas. We may never have the chance to visit a specific country but the internet allows people to virtually share histories, images and lifestyles of that place.

Looking at a screen all the time can be tiring

This has become especially important during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of insecure travel, families and friends are stranded across the globe. In these dangerous, unusual times, their only form of communication is the internet. Online communication has become the only way that many of us can interact and this has been reflected in usage, with Zoom usage surging from 10 million daily users last year to 200 million users today.

I have enjoyed using Zoom and as someone who isn’t a technology expert, I’ve found it quite easy to master. It’s been excellent for communicating in different online sessions that sadly couldn’t happen in real life. However, whether it’s Zoom or HouseParty – these sessions can easily become overwhelming. Looking at a screen all the time can be tiring, particularly if you’re permanently concentrating on a discussion.

Writing a letter could be a positive way of communicating your thoughts

It is perfectly fine to desire some time away from others. In the past, generations used to embrace solitude. Apart from the telephone, the only time friends or distant relatives would speak to one another was in person. Everything they wanted to say had to be said whenever they met up. There simply wasn’t the flexibility to constantly be in communication, with only wealthy families initially having phones. Given this was the norm in the past, it is easy to see why people would want to have this lifestyle today.

There are ways of embracing solitude that can involve others at a later date. Instead of speaking to someone, writing a letter could be a positive way of communicating your thoughts. By writing instead of engaging in a discussion, there is time to consider your remarks before putting them to paper. Getting a pen, paper, envelope and stamp may seem beyond old fashioned but, for older generations especially, it was the norm. I imagine many mature relatives would appreciate nothing more than a letter. If they have adapted to modern technology, why can’t we briefly adapt to letter writing?

Creative projects like painting can provide an escape

People are spending their time during the coronavirus pandemic in different ways. Key workers are helping to keep the UK safe and saving lives. For the rest of us, we’re spending most of our time at home. Creative projects like painting can provide an escape when dealing with the pressures of communication online. Again, less time is spent talking but personally engaging in a creative project. It could be the perfect form of escapism. When the project is finished, it is something that can be shared at a later date.

Thankfully, the UK’s lockdown will eventually come to an end. People will be able to go out again, socialise with others and life will return to some form of normality. Though things will never be completely the same again, there will be time to see individuals we care about. This is something to look forward to immensely.

Some of us may desire solitude in the present but there is nothing wrong with arranging a date to meet up in the future. This would ensure personal communication is maintained, which may help people get through isolation. Whatever the challenges facing us today, it is perfectly normal to desire both time spent alone and socialisation with others.

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