With the lockdown in South Africa having been extended, many people are increasingly turning to online communities to stay updated and share in each other’s concerns, provide tips, and even help with the influx of homework. During black swan events such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, such online communities and tools will become paramount to easing the collective anxiety being felt.

Concepts like social distancing, self-isolation and others have become part of the daily dialogue. Many countries are in total lockdown with citizens having restricted movement only being allowed to travel to buy food and receive medical care. This is where technology can really highlight the benefits of people being able to digitally connect with one another.

Wherever possible, businesses have implemented work-from-home policies for staff able to do so. And with all non-essential services closed, the focus will be on the efficacy of the technologies available to still provide people with the means to earn a living and keep industry going.

Understanding the impact

A lockdown is focused on minimising the movement of people to limit the spread of Covid-19. But even though working from home might seem like it can only be a wonderful experience, it is easy to become isolated from colleagues and friends. This can lead to depression and a lack of purpose, especially for people who simply cannot fulfil their work responsibilities from home. Connecting with one’s community digitally therefore fulfils an invaluable social need in these difficult times.

Being able to communicate with members of one’s community will arguably become critical over the next several weeks, especially with the realities of the lockdown hitting home.

In this regard, communities mean more than just a neighbourhood. It can translate to a sales team or the entire staff body, a church congregation, a school, or even an entire municipality. In times of crisis, it is these communities that come together and instil a sense of solidarity among its members.

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