We're Technically Connecting Better
Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your social life this year? Welcome to the club.
2020’s gifts to humanity have thus far included social distancing and quarantine, face masks and hand sanitizer, your favorite restaurants/bars closing, innumerable canceled events, and — everyone’s personal favorite — arguing with acquaintances on social media (just kidding).
Perhaps the upside to all of this is that we, as a social society, have found ways to pivot and tap into technology as a means of staying connected. We’ve learned we can stay in touch during the pandemic through social media and interactive apps.
Mobile app usage has surged by 40% in 2020, and daily social media usage by Americans has increased from an average of 4 minutes per day to nearly 24 minutes.
The apps and social platforms we prefer vary based on our needs, preferences, age group and technological aptitude. A few stand out, however, and emerged as vital tools for everything from meetings to mental health.
Here are a few we think should be on your radar:
Kids Communication: Facebook Messenger Kids is a great tool for younger kids not yet ready for apps like Snapchat or Instagram. We’ve heard it’s been a social lifeline for Everything Brevard’s favorite young actress, Ella Grace Helton. Kids can message, video chat and even play games.
Wellness: Downloads and usage of apps such as Calm & Headspace, which help people meditate, have soared since COVID-19 shut us all in.
Health: Medical providers like Health First have more than doubled options for telehealth and virtual appointments. Virtual visits with physicians might just be healthcare’s next big thing.
Fitness: Local studios (like The Yoga Garden), gyms and personal trainers have started offering live-stream and on-demand virtual workouts. Paid downloads and memberships with national brands, such as BeachBody, also have climbed substantially.
Happy Hour, Meetings & Everything in Between: Video conferencing platforms like ZOOM and Google Meet are ultra popular alternatives to traditional face-to-face interactions.
Keeping up With Friends & Acquaintances: Instagram is sort of like Facebook, but without all the drama, conspiracy theories and political arguing. Added bonus: Instagram stories are like a slideshow of the behind-the-scenes moments of the accounts you follow.
Far-Away Family: Apps like FaceTime, Skype, Google Meet and WhatsApp can help parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. feel together even when they can’t BE together.
While staying connected virtually is a great modern option, these solutions do have their limitations. Sometimes, even the best virtual options aren’t enough when you’re really struggling with the effects of this pandemic.
Organizations such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) are available around the clock to offer mental health support. If you need to speak with someone, call 800-950-NAMI (6264).
Michelle Mulak owns Good Vibrations Creative + Consulting, a boutique marketing, public relations and communications consulting firm based in Cocoa Beach. She works with entrepreneurs, businesses, brands, events and organizations of all sizes to help them develop and implement authentic, effective content marketing, advertising and publicity strategies.
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