Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Virtual is Awesome - Going Places, Meeting People

Know what? I'm seriously getting the hang of this new normal of restricted movement. Most of my work activities have migrated to a virtual platform - and that's great news!

There are two reasons why. First, I can explore more places than usual. Second, I can meet more people than ever.

Wait, that doesn't sound right! Isn't the pandemic supposed to pin us down in our homes and freeze international travel? True, in theory. But thanks to the magic of the digital technology, a state of lockdown doesn't have to result to a state of hibernation.

Mooters gonna moot, moot, moot...

* * *

Let's start with going places.

Virtualization is a crude form of teleportation. Video calls allow us to jump in and out meetings seamlessly. We don't even have to hit the road. No more stress searching for parking in a dimly lit dingy basement. No more hassle with lobby registration, security checks and changing lifts.

It's great that most social gatherings are on Zoom (other platforms suck, period). I'm now able to attend more meetings, talks and events. Geography, time and money are no longer constraints. I can now attend a talk hosted in, say, London.

In some extreme situations, I find myself in two places at once. Due to the scheduling congestion, I ocassionally end up double or triple-booking the same time slot for multiple calls. Of course, I only do that when my presence isn't required for more than one call. So I waltz in and out virtual rooms like a boss (ala Spice Girls in 'Wannabe')...

* * *

The second perk is meeting people.

This follows up closely to the first point. By being able to attend more events than before, I'm able to meet more people as well. Of course, chatting to a face on a monitor isn't the same as meeting in person. I do prefer face-to-face encounters in general (maybe not for weekly/monthly 'department' meetings).

Still, there's a nett gain here - meeting people virtually who I would not have met physically. In short, the new emergence of virtual social functions allow us to meet people we wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet in normal circumstances.

Of course, that's not to say this new norm should be the way forward. Precedence is not permanence. Once the pandemic subsides, physical meetings should pick up again. Still, by then, Zooming will stay as an alternative communication channel to bring people separated across time and space together.

* * *

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed our lives for the worse more than the better. Still, that shouldn't stop us from searching for a silver lining. Vaccine or no vaccine, I really hope most of us now realise how most of our physical interactions at work are unnecessary and wasteful.

Above all, we are all slowly starting to unlock our new superpower - teleportation.

Perhaps the greatest upside of the pandemic is the demonstration of human perseverance and ingenuity in overcoming physical barriers. We're actually more connected than we realised. And even as our bodies are forcibly separated, our spirits remain united.

Another upside is that I'm engaging more with people far from home. My work scope is no longer bound by time and space. My work output increased exponentially.

Ultimately, perhaps the greatest irony of the pandemic is that we, as humans, are discovering new ways to express ourselves, socialise with others, and pursue our ambitions - more freely than ever before.

No comments :

Post a Comment