What was your average day like in February?
Maybe you woke up, got ready for work, stopped for coffee, and sat in rush hour traffic. You might have spent a lot of time in conference rooms with coworkers, eating at crowded restaurants, and going to happy hour with friends.
But by March, everything had changed. The morning coffee and crowded meetings were suddenly dangerous. Coughing in the grocery store? Taboo. As our lives went virtual, we found that technology became a centerpiece of this global health crisis.
Technology has long been a staple of our day-to-day lives. Online shopping and Zoom meetings aren’t exactly a new phenomenon, after all. But what is new is just how many of us are relying on these technologies for nearly all aspects of our daily routines, from working and maintaining relationships to feeding our families and making sure our children keep learning.
Bryan Semaan is a professor at the iSchool, where he researches ways people are using technology to become more resilient. As we face ongoing economic and social disruption, he notes that technology has taken a central role not just in helping us maintain some semblance of normalcy during this crisis — but also in helping us cope.
The key to staying resilient during any crisis, Semaan says, is to adapt, to create new routines and activities while also continuing with old ones. And technology is often what makes that possible, as we are seeing now during the coronavirus pandemic.
For example, technology has enabled us to stay connected to friends and family, which is crucial for coping with stress. People are using platforms like Zoom to host virtual dinner parties. Dates have gone virtual, with couples watching movies together via video chat. Neighborhood-centric app Nextdoor has empowered people to reach out and assist each other with childcare or picking up groceries.
Some people have even picked up new hobbies. Fender has been offering free guitar lessons, for instance, while CorePower uploads new yoga videos on demand every week. Technology is enabling us to seek out new avenues for creativity from the safety of our own homes.