Sunday, May 17, 2020

Let's get digital!

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
So, to misquote Olivia Newton John - let's get digital. I keep reading antagonistic data - book reading is on the up, but Amazon teamed up with American Vogue to sell designer clothes because traditional stores that would carry these designers are now closed. Apparently, the way we shop will forever change, then on the first day of lockdown easing in Paris there was a long queue in front of Zara. And so on and so forth. But, to me, going digital is something engrained in me (even if I am a bit of a Luddite who does not shop online and has no credit card).
But let us go back to the beginning.
I recently joined the PHNX tribute festival as a juror. Actually, the whole festival is digital and entry is free to replace all the shows that got cancelled this year. I am also, a part of a major international collective which was supposed to do events spanning from Montreal to Vienna to Amsterdam and Beirut. Realizing opportunities for travel are now quasi-non-existent, we now switched to discussing how to transport all the events to a digital realm. And the list continues.
I am sure we are not alone in this. As people now stand apart and minimize interaction, working from home has become a viable option when previously it was not. My own lockdwon started way before anyone else's in a bid to save money, but I am still incredibly productive, and still reach out to my limited number of friends via digital tools (something other people are learning to do now!).
Do I miss people? Rarely to be honest. I am not by the way, trying to extrapolate my modus operandi and apply it to everyone: I am totally aware that what works for me (introverted, driven, with a touch of OCD) does not work for more extroverted individuals with a more leisurely pace of work.
Still - with schools, universities and companies closed - either because of the Coronavirus, or due to the dire economic situation in Lebanon (or worldwide for that matter), perhaps the time has come to redefine how we work and live and spend our time and connect to one another as individuals.
Want it or not, it seems the digital realm is going to grow. And even Luddite credit cardless people like me need to take note.