The last three months have been very strange times indeed. At least for this aged Welshman, living alone in Mid-Wales, being labelled vulnerable and actively encouraged to self-isolate.
The question of work was soon solved. After more than 20 years experience of working online it was very simple to phone all patients/clients to inform them that as from the next week we should be working using video,. Sure enough, after some initial minor glitches, it worked ok. Many colleagues and friends had a much harder time.
However, like so many others, I really suffered from social isolation, and still do, although it's been somewhat alleviated lately by meeting friends in my covered courtyard where we can still meet, one to one, with 2.5 metres distance and sit, drink and converse without having to shout!
Many people seem to have recently found solace in ' online meetings'. I'm reminded of the time around 20 years ago when I started experimenting with virtual online video conferencing for psychotherapy. Exciting times. Lots of mistakes, technical problems etc but we found that even one face to face session of less than one hour duration was often enough to establish a contact that could be developed. Possibly on some emotional level but certainly essential for open communication.
Recently I have found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with so many people unable/refusing to acknowledge the vital difference between Virtual and Real. Virtual is still sometimes quite close to some forms of reality but it is never going to replace reality. Whether it's called online or virtual or something else, it can of course be useful, interesting, even magical but it's never going to be a real meeting. The communication will always remain virtual and not really.
But it remains a very useful tool. No more and no less.