We are facing a new normal—a global cultural reset. Faced with social and physical distancing, we went from face-to-face to Facetime and Zoom at record speed without debate, discord or hesitation. Media and technology have become the lifelines to work, healthcare, education, entertainment, social and interpersonal ties, and commerce. Use of social media and online platforms is ubiquitous and fluid, across and beyond apps, platforms and devices. Increased use of digitally mediated environments is accelerating existing and emerging trends such as data modeling, surveillance and AI.
The drive to connect socially is uniting families and friends using video calling and live-streaming. People are connecting with fictional characters, storyworlds and celebrities at this time when in-person contact is limited. Social media is an increasingly powerful voice for current societal challenges, such as the front-line realities of doctors and nurses and the social disparities in treatment, while also enabling the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories. All of this is upending business, governments, politics, and our societal expectations.
Previous standards about media consumption are challenged as we focus on relieving anxiety and increasing well-being. Adversity has created challenges but ignited a range of innovations and experiments from Instagram Dance Parties to widespread online education that may redefine K-12 education. Augmented and virtual realities may become viable options for group events.