If the current lockdown proves anything, it’s how social connection is a primary need for our species. For many people, lockdown has proved to be a real struggle when it comes to social isolation.
The various approaches to lockdown taken by governments around the world have also shown us the potential for technology and the internet to reduce the distance between people. It will never be perfect, but every little helps.
Computers are really a communication medium, and always have been; but it’s not necessarily just about transferring information.
An important aspect of the experience technology enables is a sense of presence. This means knowing that others are engaged in similar activities at the same time.
It’s this synchronous aspect of technology that we’re interested in at Pusher. We help people build connected experiences, because we think they are really important. Whether at work, or at play, technology should enable closeness.
This is why the experience of live sport is so engaging for people, why we go to the cinema with friends, and why we come together as families for festivities throughout the year.
It’s a shock to have these removed from our lives so suddenly. Something none of us could have predicted, or really been prepared for.
Technology has an important role to play in the pandemic
This has presented a new challenge, and an opportunity. In many countries we may be looking at an extended period of lockdown, and we’ve been talking about how we can help to support humans as they struggle with the impact this will have on mental wellness and productivity. New companies are already being born to help tackle these challenges. We want to help this innovation happen.
At a time of great challenge, people want to help. Technologists and engineers in particular are natural problem solvers. They see problems and want to put forth solutions. Some of these efforts may have missed the mark, but the impetus to solve problems needs to have an outlet, as does the need to contribute.
While the doctors, policy makers and epidemiologists are really at the front-lines of keeping us safe, there are numerous problems to be tackled to keep a society functioning.
One of the most important is to keep people connected, and to alleviate some of the harm caused by isolation. There have been huge spikes in the use of video conferencing apps and other resources usually reserved for professional communication as people look for ways to gather during social distancing and take these tools into their personal lives.
A call to “hack for connectedness”
We are making a call for technology people to join us in creating a new wave of solutions to bring physically disparate people together in shared experiences. We want to foster innovation in entertainment, communication and logistics.
We’ll be featuring some of the best examples on our blog to raise awareness.
Some of the ideas we’d love to see explored include (but are not limited to):
- Games: what kinds of games will work well? How do we include people who are not used to playing online? How do we weave these experiences into peoples’ schedule?
- Participatory media: how do we enjoy films together? Listen to music?
- Celebration: how do we mark key dates? What do parties look like? How do we come together for more sombre purposes?
- Community support: how do we support the people in our immediate community? How do we provide platforms for volunteering so that people can contribute to common goals?
- Education: what kinds of class rooms can we provide? Not just for children, how do we promote professional development at these times?
- Conferences: How can people come together to learn about the best practices and trends?
- Local businesses: how can we connect people with their customers and provide the social bonds that are missing from the larger online brands
Some of this stuff may appear trivial, but it’s a mistake to view it in that way. While many people are dealing with the more severe areas of the current crisis, the majority of us are not, and are looking for tools to keep us busy and entertained so that we can keep contributing in the only way we are able – by staying at home.
We’re kicking this off ourselves. This Thursday will be Pusher’s first remote hack day and we’ll share with you how we get on. Drop us a line or share your creations on social media at #ConnectedHack if you create anything with our APIs and we’ll feature you in a round up. Good luck helping bring people together!