Growing up, my parents always urged me to stay off of social media. It has the ability to create unrealistic expectations, make people feel left out, and discourage in–person interactions. Now, social media use is encouraged more than ever before. We're all relying on online platforms to keep us in touch with our friends, family, and colleagues. And while we may be staying at home, we're still up–to–date on the lives of those we care about most—all thanks to technology.

Right now, the world is, plainly put, scary. But while everything feels pretty uncertain, we are fortunate enough to live in a time where technology is advanced enough to sustain our relationships with others—relationships we all probably are leaning on to get through these stressful times. We're calling our friends and emailing our professors, but even this lacks the face—to—face connection that makes social interaction so uplifting.  

FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and many other similar platforms allow us to see each other without leaving our houses. In practice, this enables us to maintain social distancing without removing ourselves from the relationships that help us remain a sense of normalcy. Recently, my family FaceTimed our grandparents so that we could still see them without putting them at any risk. It felt nice to see them without the worries endemic to our new normal, like remaining 6 feet apart or wearing a mask appropriately.

Meanwhile, many companies and universities are using Zoom to conduct meetings, classes, and much more. Of course, this platform easily facilitates lectures and group meeting, but its utility extends far beyond the office or classroom.

Sure, you can no longer meet up with your friends at a restaurant or bar for happy hour, but you can meet up over Zoom for one. One of the latest stay–at–home trends is “Zoom Happy Hour,” and we love it. 

The set up is easy. People typically make a drink, open their computer, and then head to Zoom. The app or websites enables you to host large groups—so the more, the merrier! These happy hours make connecting easier, broadening your circle of friends to those who you don't see every day. You can do one with your high school friends from whom you may have moved away, or with college friends now scattered across the country. 

These connections are significant for maintaining a sense of normalcy and promoting happiness. Staying at home can be very isolating, and this is an easy way to see your friends and loved ones’ faces without actually being face–to–face. Also, it's helpful just to take a break to catch up and laugh, sans risks.  

Ultimately, Zoom happy hours are a trend we love. Providing a temporary escape from our worries, it's nice to see that people can find creative ways to connect.


All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.