It goes without saying that 2020 has presented a shock-wave of extreme change that we did not anticipate. At 24 years old, I was expecting something world-altering to occur in my lifetime, but I was not prepared for it to arrive this soon. Not only has COVID-19 impacted our day to day lives from a health and safety perspective, but is has also taken away something deeper and more personal – our physical connection with one another.
To be present is to live in the moment, to be aware of who and what is around us in a given instance. As I sit here at my make-shift office in my apartment, I can’t help but think about how routine and constant my human-to-human interaction was on a typical weekday.
6:30am – Wake up
8:00am to 5:00pm – Arrive at work, immediately dive into projects with my co-workers face to face, communicate throughout the day email and phone, pick up lunch at a restaurant, drive home
5:30pm – Arrive home, change into workout clothes, grab my roomie
6:15pm – Arrive at workout class with 30+ other people
7:15pm – Head to the grocery store, go home and cook dinner with
8:00pm – FaceTime my parents and my significant other
We are in a constant flux of motion and interaction. Now that this flow has been interrupted, it makes you realize how many people we truly interact with on a daily basis (even if you consider yourself to be more introverted or a person who prefers to be on their own).
Yes, it is certainly true that social media and technology give us the ability and convenience to stay connected in a different manner. However, it seems that regardless of the amount of time we are spending on these platforms and connectivity outlets AND interacting with others through them (DMs, comments, “likes”), people still report feeling “bored” and “lonely.” Interestingly, I’ve seen a lot of posts from people announcing that they are taking a break from social media (partially due to the excess of negative news), or that they are annoyed with how much time they spend on their phones.
My point is this: technology does not fill the void or replace the overall absence of real, legitimate connection. The combination of technology and real interaction is what provides fulfillment.
There is also something to be said about the importance of nonverbal communication (refers to gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact [or lack thereof], body language, posture and other ways people can communicate without using language). Multiple studies show that a majority of our communication is nonverbal. This proves to be extremely important in the totality of a person’s expression/message. Think: dancing, hugging, watching your friends eyes widen and mouth drop when their favorite artist plays their favorite song live. You get the idea.
However, in these times where people may feel isolated, I believe that communication technology is proving to be a crucial way for us to maintain some form of normalcy in regards to interaction and connection. But, I look at it as being more of a bandaid as opposed to a permanent fix. It goes without saying that physical interaction is something that most of us certainly miss – particularly in the music community.
Through good and bad times, music is a constant. Music in itself provides us connections – with ourselves, with our favorite artists and with our friends. Right now, we have lost the ability to congregate together in the name of music. Be it a massive festival or a low-key basement rave. As a community, artists, fans and producers alike are mourning this temporary loss that has sent shock-waves through the industry.