To read Tom's third post, click here.
On Wednesday 25 March I received the call to inform me that I had tested positive for the virus. Once I told Sarah the news she set about working out who needed to be told and in what order. I was one of the early positive test results on the island so we were only telling close friends and family, plus our places of work.
Or so we thought.
Soon after telling the kids the news and explaining that Daddy would be staying upstairs on his own for the foreseeable future, Sarah received a text. It was from the mum of one of Roo’s friends checking that I was okay. Some quick detective work revealed that while Sarah and I were carefully informing our nearest and dearest about my condition, Roo (who is an eight year old ray of sunshine who loves nothing more than gossiping with her buddies) was busily texting all her mates: “my Dad has coronavirus!”.
A few frantic calls and texts later (plus one temporarily confiscated iPad) and Sarah had the situation under control.
It made me realise how quickly messages can spread around our little island home and beyond. And the method and frequency that we are communicating has changed immeasurably in just the past few weeks.
It’s incredible to think that just a short time ago I would be just as likely to pop round to see my parents as I would be to call them. In fact, my parents and I are so casual about letting each other know what’s going on that in the past I have popped around to see them only to find they have gone on holiday without telling me (well that’s all out of the window - they can’t go on holiday and I can’t even pop round to see them). Now the whole family is “whatsapping” constantly.
The internal work dynamic at Potting Shed (and most other companies I imagine) has changed from face-to-face meetings to calls, Slack messages and video conferences.
Social Channels have never been more active with wider circles of friends finding themselves in need of connecting to one another.
On a large scale, governmental and news sites (particularly the reputable ones like the BBC) are no doubt seeing a huge increase in traffic as everyone craves the latest information about the spread of the virus or instructions about how they should be conducting their lives.
On a smaller scale I have been communicating with my own wife and children via FaceTime while I sit quarantined in the bedroom.
All of this technology (WhatsApp, FaceTime, Facebook, Instagram, Email, Twitter, Zoom, Skype, Whereby, Slack, and many, many more) has enabled us to stay connected to the rest of the world and our loved ones close to home (sometimes actually in our home). At this time of uncertainty, stress and worry has allowed us to remain part of a community even as we distance ourselves physically. Personally I am very grateful that I live in a world where I can be safely quarantined to avoid spreading the virus around while still connected to my loved ones and the rest of the world.
The way that we communicate will likely change forever post Covid-19. I’m sure that we will all be desperate to meet up face-to-face, hold dinner parties, go for walks together, eat out, and generally be as sociable as possible. But I think we will all be more likely to connect digitally too - staying in contact with those who we can’t see as easily.
I think we will emerge into a world more connected than ever before.
Apart from Roo. She will remain on communication lockdown until she can learn not to gossip.