Kevin Roose at The New York Times:”…There is no use sugarcoating the virus, which has already had devastating consequences for people all over the world, and may get much worse in the months ahead. There will be more lives lost, businesses closed and communities thrown into financial hardship. Nobody is arguing that what is coming will be fun, easy or anything remotely approaching normal for a very long time.
But if there is a silver lining in this crisis, it may be that the virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used — to connect with one another, share information and resources, and come up with collective solutions to urgent problems. It’s the healthy, humane version of digital culture we usually see only in schmaltzy TV commercials, where everyone is constantly using a smartphone to visit far-flung grandparents and read bedtime stories to kids.
Already, social media seems to have improved, with more reliable information than might have been expected from a global pandemic. And while the ways we’re substituting for in-person interaction aren’t perfect — over the next few months in America, there may be no phrase uttered more than “Can someone mute?” — we are seeing an explosion of creativity as people try to use technology as a bridge across physical distances.
Just look at what’s happening in Italy, where homebound adults are posting mini-manifestos on Facebook, while restless kids flock to multiplayer online games like Fortnite. Or see what’s happening in China, where would-be partyers have invented “cloud clubbing,” a new kind of virtual party in which D.J.s perform live sets on apps like TikTok and Douyin while audience members react in real time on their phones. Or observe how we’re coping in the United States, where groups are experimenting with new kinds of socially distanced gatherings: virtual yoga classes, virtual church services, virtual dinner parties.
These are the kinds of creative digital experiments we need, and they are coming at a time when we need them more than ever….(More)”