By María José Jiménez Hernández - Student of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Technology and social media have grown incredibly in the past years, but by having this technology, as human beings we have grown into a comfort zone of only texting and being fully invested on our social media instead of being out there creating relationships. This was our reality, but then COVID stroke leaving us trapped in four walls with nothing but our electronic devices, resulting in missing what we took for granted the most, our families, our friends and those who surround us. The effect of being completely isolated resulted in the emergence of soft skills such as empathy, kindness, and human connection. As human beings we have always looked for different ways to adapt, in this case we decided to use social media as a bridge to fulfill the necessity of connecting with others instead of using it as a distraction. Our generation is facing the challenge of humanizing tech and make it a part of the new reality.
During the pandemic, a lot of people was forced to isolation without any human contact, something that was taken for granted suddenly became a luxury we no longer could afford. It was proven that before the pandemic most people, especially teenagers, often when they hung out, would be looking at their phones instead of communicating among each other. These shifts in perspective elevate the importance of what used to be considered soft skills, such as kindness, empathy, resilience, ethical behavior, and other positive character traits. (Christensen, 2020). As shown, there was a change in the perception of the general population when it came to soft skills and gained more importance changing their status from a “nice to have” to being a must, used not only to pass the pandemic stage, but to incorporate them into their life.
Social media has played a really important role during this pandemic since it allowed people to develop the soft skill of empathy and communication without seeing a person face to face since it became a risk that could endanger your life. “Across all stages of the pandemic, WhatsApp is the social media app experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected”(Kantar Group, 2020). “Overall, WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase in usage; in the early phase of the pandemic usage increases 27%, in mid-phase 41% and countries in the late phase of the pandemic see an increase of 51%.” (Kantar, 2020) “Increased usage across all messaging platforms has been biggest in the 18-34 age group. WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram have all experienced a 40%+ increase in usage from under-35-year-olds.” (Kantar, 2020). These channels have helped build bridges of communication and information as opposed to the past, now we live in a reality where thousands of people are connected and they don’t have to live in the same area, let alone the same country.
Even though social media has helped in several areas, another group of people believe that the best solution to reconnecting and for soft skills to regain power is by fully deleting all social media. “There are a lot of advantages when it comes to deleting social media. One is that you are more aware of what is happening around you.” (Baessler, 2020). Social media has its benefits but also has a negative side, it doesn’t matter what path you choose, the important thing is that if you choose to use it, the best thing is learning how to use that channel without getting caught on it.
As our generation continues to face the challenge of humanizing tech, the soft skills that we have acquired in our post pandemic world will become the key to not losing our battle of integrating technology into our lives creating one. If this experience has taught us anything is that we as human beings can adapt to anything, therefore we must embrace change.
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Baessler, H. (2020, December 29). Why I deleted Social Media and how it changed my life. Medium.
Christensen, U. (2020, November 9). The Importance Of Soft Skills In A Post-Pandemic World. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ulrikjuulchristensen/2020/11/09/the-importance-of-soft-skills-in-a-post-pandemic-world/?sh=c02a1925c26a
Kantar Group. (2020, April 3). COVID-19 Barometer: Consumer attitudes, media habits and expectations. Kantar.https://www.kantar.com/Inspiration/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Barometer-Consumer-attitudes-media-habits-and-expectations