How has the pandemic changed you?

Submit your reflection for a special reader edition of Yellow Canary Land 🐤

We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of the WHO’s declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his public statement:

We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. 

Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.

We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.

How has the pandemic changed you? Before March 11, 2020, I’d gotten used to looking down — at a phone or laptop —, and as March 11, 2021, approaches, I’ve started looking upward. These past few months, I’ve taken an interest in astronomy and birding, two hobbies that require sitting still, flipping back and forth between a pair of binoculars and a field guide, and looking up at the natural world in ways I haven’t for years. This month, Mars will be hovering near the Pleiades, a star cluster that's had a long fascination amongst world cultures for its unique appearance in the sky.

I thought I’d prepare a special edition of Yellow Canary Land 🐤 based on reader submissions. If you’d like to be included, please send along the following in answer to the question “How has the pandemic changed you?” You can just reply to this email to send it.

  • Your name (as you’d like it to appear in the newsletter and on Medium)

  • No more than 150 words on what’s changed for you since March 11, 2020 OR a piece of art by you in response to the past year

We won’t be able to select every entry, but we’ll try to include the most poignant/interesting examples. Please send your entry by Monday, March 8 to be included for consideration.

New from Me 💁🏻🆕

My Clubhouse club of 4,300 (now 8,000!) people who don’t talk

If Zoom and Slack are where we spend our working days, Clubhouse is like hitting up the bar after work. It’s the bar, the meet-up, the networking event, the party, all wrapped up into one. For me, video chat has become a place for work, and the audio-only quality of Clubhouse makes it more relaxing and casual. It’s important to remember that third places are not necessarily safe spaces for everyone, but they do occupy a different function from work and home.

How video chat entered the uncanny valley of sociality in the pandemic

The context of the pandemic has, I think, turned video chat into an uncanny valley experience because we have limited other forms of sociality right now. So video chat gets so close to hanging out with others but isn’t quite the same, for some of the very specific reasons that the researchers identified. Paradoxically, even while it’s a salvo for the missing social experiences in our lives right now, it also exhausts us more quickly than if we were hanging out in person.

Yellow Canary Land 🐤 is a monthly look at the future of global media and technology. It’s ostensibly about some distant tomorrow, but really, it’s about how the forces of our yesterdays and todays are likely to shape the times to come. Don’t expect a lot of emails, but do expect a lot of thought put into each one.

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