In technology we trust

As we get back to our lives and work, we’ve never been more reliant on technology.

The lockdown in South Africa has been the longest and one of the most stringent in the world. We are all anxious about the future, the economy, and when we can see and hug our loved ones. Some of us are wondering when we can buy legal cigarettes without feeling like a criminal, and some, even when they will get back to work. There’s no real end in sight, with a lack of communication, miscommunication, and little transparency behind many government decisions that seem both capricious and arbitrary.

However, it has given us a chance to touch base with people we have lost contact with or barely spoken to in years. I have felt a strong desire to reconnect with people from my past as we bond over the uncertainties and stresses we all have in common. In many ways, it has presented an opportunity to reignite our dormant ties that have been lost through the distance of time or proximity.

And even when this unmitigated disaster is over, and normalcy (whatever that might look like) returns to our lives, we will still be facing an economy that will probably be circling the drain, and there might just be opportunities within those connections we have reawakened, to perhaps open doors to other long-lost connections or networks that have stagnated over time.

This isn’t only true for individuals, as professionals have lacked the face-to-face networking that events provide, which are probably the most effective way of building and strengthening social and business networks. They allow people to bond with others with whom they already have much in common, and share interests and new information with them.
Withering on the vine
There’s no putting lipstick on this pig. Without the ability to connect with friends, colleagues and future prospects, all our networks are at risk of withering away. The personal interactions that are so critical to our very humanity have been snatched away by an invisible threat, and I can’t help but feel that technology has stepped in and saved the day.

Technology has made socialisation possible. It has allowed us to chat to our friends via Zoom, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Houseparty, to share a virtual glass of wine and a laugh. It has allowed businesspeople to hold meetings and conduct webinars to keep themselves ticking over and their doors open. Although Covid-19 forced us into isolation, technology and innovation are filling the chasm.I believe that technology has never been more significant. It’s enabling the interactions that are so crucial to our business and to our sanity in ways it has never had to do before. There are a slew of cloud platforms and devices that are now connecting friends, families and colleagues from a few blocks away, to over vast oceans, deserts and mountains. And while we once used technologies as a means to supplement the way we connect, we are now fully dependent on them. Their role in our lives has never been more critical.

We have to keep balance in our lives, we have to keep moving and connecting. It’s what makes us human. Technologies have given us a way of getting the moral and emotional support we need. They have enabled us to share ideas, and consider new perspectives in these dreadfully uncertain times. They have allowed us to carry on working. They have enabled us to invest in our relationships, both new and once dormant, and to build meaningful connections with people we might not have, had this pandemic never happened.

It has helped many of us to build meaningful reconnections, not only with each other, but perhaps with ourselves, too.

KIRSTEN DOYLE is a consulting editor at ITWeb with a special interest in cyber security. Follow her on Twitter on @KirstenDoyle.
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