The ongoing Covid pandemic stretches us to our limits. During the last months, many of us have been quarantining or (self-)isolating and working from home. The Aspen Institute has studied the effects and published several reports with the telling titles: “Lessons in Loneliness” and “Artificial Intimacy.”
Bascially, there is no one size fits all technical solution for us. People are different: while Zoom/Skype might work for some as means for keeping their social ties alive, others still need the physical contact. However, staying in contact with other people during this pandemic requires digital technology: it’s the only available means that works without physical contact.
Using digital technology as means for social interactions has been studied to a greater extend in recent years. Notable is Sherry Turkle’s book Along together that shows negative effects of socializing online. If you watched Social Dilemma, you might starting to wonder how bad online interactions are for us. But what if this is all that we have (for the time being)?
Linda K. Kaye, a cyberpsychology academic did a study of university students investigating the psychosocial implications of WhatsApp. The study shows that WhatsApp encourages bonding between users and decreases isolation. Now, using voice memos and sharing with your WhatsApp friends might just be the right thing to stay in touch with remote friends. On one hand there is the personal aspect of the voice that makes messages unique and more personal that a textmessage. A voice message is similar to an actual conversation, but without space and time constraints (if you ever happen to travel to Mars, the conversation will be similar).