While tech is blamed for many of the world’s ills, I don’t think we should forget the good that it does: its connections have got me through the worst of a bleak year.
As parts of the UK begin opening up again I’ve been reflecting on what’s been a bleak year. But technology has been a big part of getting me through it.
It’s easy to blame tech for everything from poor mental health to spreading hate and fake news. I live alone – by choice. The only carbon-based life form I want to share a home with is my cat – and I mostly like working from home, too.
But I wouldn’t have got through the past year without tech. Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, have kept me connected to my friends, colleagues and family. I’ve discussed telly, posted photos of my cat being ridiculously imperious…..
I have just broken the news to Daphne that it's not suppertime, and it's gone down exactly as well as you'd expect. pic.twitter.com/Q5Hi69j6tf
…..learned huge amounts from experts on Twitter, rolled my eyes at the excesses of others in direct messages and enjoyed photos of my colleagues’ walks on our work Slack. The list goes on.
Our connections have grown and deepened
My mum died in July, just as the first lockdown was ending. Neither I nor my siblings had been able to see her: there was simply nowhere open for us to stay nearby. Grief is hard enough to navigate in normal times; the pandemic made it even more complex.
But during that time, my brother, sister and I discovered that despite the distances between us, we could together manage her care in the last weeks of her life. Our connection, always loving, but often distant, has grown and deepened.
We’ve done that via our WhatsApp group, which has been a Godsend: a channel where we’ve worked out differences of opinion, planned how to haggle with undertakers, solicitors, estate agents and clergy, exchanged photos, and above all, supported each other.
The isolation of lockdown
Through the worst of a bleak year, connections provided by tech have got me through. A friend who knows I’ve found the isolation of lockdowns hard Skyped regularly to check in. We then obsessed over every detail of the fraught US election via WhatsApp.
There have been Zoom quizzes, Skype meetings of the charity of which I’m a trustee, cat pictures, coffees with friends via Google Meet, discussions on my Facebook wall: all the ephemera of my life,
Thank God for the technology – it’s been a blessing. How’s it been for you? Has technology helped you through the pandemic the way it has for me?