Connection in the palm of our hand

Last year, a total of 1.43 trillion photographs were captured digitally. 90% of these were shot using a mobile phone.

This was a significant increase from the previous year, especially when one considers the number of social activities put on hold.

It, however, comes as no real surprise. There is more to an image than a simple text message. A text message can describe only so much whilst an image activates so many more senses. We miss our grandparents, our parents, as well as our siblings. A photograph is more meaningful, especially after a year and a half of no real physical interaction.

Statistics show that mobile use has increased over the past years even though we have been amid a pandemic, primarily when referring to photography and video conversations. Being stuck at home did not discourage people from socialising: social media posts showed how much people were getting irate whilst isolated at home. If anything, they found the right tool to keep themselves and others motivated. Putting aside the phenomena of working from home through online video conferences, people have tried to keep things as normal as possible, and they have found the use of the mobile phone to be the most viable.

Last year, a total of 1.43 trillion photographs were captured digitally. 90% of these were shot using a mobile phone.

When it comes to video calls, exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, seeing that there are hundreds of applications used, with each app having its own unique statistics. However, they all lead to an average of 45% increase in use during the pandemic.

We all know how thriving businesses have used online conferences, giving industries the possibility to keep the engine running. It also allowed people to interact with others. Be it in hospitals, at home or even at work; we can all see each other and not just hear each other talk. Seeing emotions, seeing what others are going through, and being supportive appears to be the best way to beat loneliness and isolation.

Specialists in this field have said that the mobile phone has proved to be a necessary device to a certain extent — it has replaced the traditional letter and even the actual phone. At times it may not replace real face to face contact, but it’s still an excellent alternative. Of course, like everything, there are consequences.

In a context of social deprivation, the mobile phone and what it offers wasn’t always enough. Things could quantitatively go on, leading to a possible continuous means of conversing, but at the price of quality. With the quality of conversing decreasing, are we going to be facing other mental health issues in the coming years? Some people with social anxieties found COVID-19 to be a touch of well needed fresh air from their ordinary social obligations. How will they face the need to meet people when things start getting back to normal?

That being said, surviving this pandemic would have been way more difficult if it was not for the mobile phone and its ability to keep us connected. We panic in times when our internet connection goes down for an hour or so. COVID-19 would have us disconnected from each other. If this pandemic would have come about no more than a few years ago, who knows how bad a communication breakdown we would have had? Luckily for us, we do not need to know. For now.

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