A Digital-Dodger Shares Her Thoughts On How It Might Actually Be Very Beneficial After All
We’ve all heard it, we’ve probably all said it, and we’re all definitely guilty of it. Connected But Disconnected has been one of the biggest trends in recent years, “we’re more connected than ever but yet we’ve never been so lonely” etc. etc. etc.
While I know that I personally am addicted to my phone, I could also be considered a ‘traditional’ phone-a-phobe. What I mean by that is, you know all the meme’s like this one?
You could absolutely replace Kim K with my face here – if you want to talk to me, don’t call me!
I’ll answer the phone to my boss, the creche and my Mom, (but only because she’ll continue to call until you pick up) but rarely to anyone else. I’ll watch the phone as it rings, wait 10 minutes and then text you back claiming I was in the shower, I was driving, I left my phone upstairs and a litany of other excuses which I’m happy to share… via text or email!
And don’t act like you don’t do the same!
Now that I think about it, I don’t know when I started hating the traditional phone call, maybe it crept up on us with the convenience of texting? Maybe what started out as a time saving measure has become a global pandemic in its own right? But the bottom line is, “we’re more connected than ever, but yet we’ve never been so lonely”.
And if there is one thing that the sudden onset of Social Distancing is showing us thus far it’s that we actually don’t like being lonely! Many of us were perfectly happy isolating ourselves on our own terms, “I don’t feel like seeing anyone today”, “I don’t feel like leaving my house today”, “all I did today was go from my bed to the kitchen to the couch” – but as soon as this type of behaviour is mandated by our Government it becomes a whole other story!
What do you mean I can’t go out? What do you mean I have to isolate myself from my friends? Not see my own parents for the foreseeable future, have you lost your mind? The Nation is in a state of outrage!
And the result has been an onslaught of images on social media of people FaceTiming one another, WhatsApp Video Calling one another, Skyping one another, or whoever your preferred video chat provider happens to be! I’ve seen pictures of people holding 4 and 5 way video-chat-table-quiz nights, I’ve seen people using video chat to play Heads Up! On a personal note, my best friend emigrated to America 15 years ago and made the big return home in January, in those 15 years we have relied solely on text for communication, we have never once FaceTimed, but we had a FaceTime chat two nights ago, in fact, I’ve organised FaceTime chats with different people almost every night for the past 10 days, a huge break away from my phone-a-phobe behaviour, and it really does help with the anxiety and the separation.
So, it looks like the various lockdown measures and social distancing mandates are actually encouraging the world to come full circle in our desire for face-to-face connectivity and while we’re not likely to be abandoning text any time soon, people are now relying on digital to help them physically see and connect with loved ones they can’t be with at the moment – but what will happen when this is all over? Watch this space!
As for us Sparkies, we are capitalising on digital to get some face time with our clients and their consumers. Our online Spark Life360 digital research platform uses ethnographic research methods to understand consumers, has gotten some great use over the last five weeks allowing us to keep our qualitative fieldwork going strong with online groups, face to face interviews, video diaries and lots more!
For information on the Covid-19 outbreak please visit the HSE website.