Oh, it seems like these days there is a technological way to do just about anything. Want to go shopping? Do it online. Want to make your kids some toys? Get a digital printer. Want to design a house? There’s a program for that, and the landscaping, too. I’m old enough to remember thinking car washes were the greatest thing ever invented to serve mankind, but my old man made me wash his old Ford in the driveway by hand anyway. Now the sky’s the limit, and not even that’s quite true since you can purchase your airline tickets over the Internet.
One aspect of all this technology that I do think is truly helpful is being able to talk to people, and actually see them, over the Internet thanks to modern video conferencing solutions. It really saved our collective bacon during the Covid quarantine! According to the Australian Communications and Media Association, around 82 per cent of Australians participated in online video conferences, a number unimaginable just a few years before.
Everyone was doing it- kids went to school that way so they could talk back to the teacher out of range of any punishment, worried relatives checked on Grandma with a live feed so she could show you her latest liver spots, bars held their weekly quiz nights online, but you had to fetch your own drinks from your fridge, old pals played poker and nerds played Pathfinder- the list went on!
Oh yes, and business happened, too! Around 42 per cent of Australian employees worked at home during the pandemic and attended regular meetings over the Internet, from planning sessions, to hirings (and firings!), to product development, to talking potential customers into making purchases, buying, selling, thinking about money, pretty much anything you could manage on a small screen. Unfortunately, office gossip took a big hit as they have not yet invented a virtual water cooler. You could do all this in your pyjamas and fluffy slippers as long as you put on a nice shirt topside, no wonder no one wanted to return to the office after the pandemic was all over!
The cleverest use of video conferencing I experienced was at my small country school’s class reunion. They had different school rooms you could visit to catch up with old friends (and enemies). I could be found smoking in the boy’s room, pass me a digital dart, mate!