With the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changing how people interact, work, shop, have fun, and socialize, it is safe to imagine that it might as well permanently change how communication takes place.
We are already witnessing the transformation unfolding right before our eyes. Employers are now communicating with their employees via email more than they’ve ever done before.
More people are signing up to social media, especially TikTok and Instagram.
The need for in-store signage has increased and will keep rising as store managers try to communicate clearly with their customers with minimal direct interactions.
More companies have started using Zoom, Skype, and other teleconferencing tools. In fact, communication apps such as WhatsApp have even expanded their services to support videoconferencing.
Those are just some of the implications of coronavirus on communication.
Here are some more:
1. More government involvement
In a bid to tackle the increased distribution of misinformation, governments around the world are finding themselves more and more involved in communication. Communication regulation authorities existed long before coronavirus, but their role has been mostly to regulate TV and other mainstream sources of information.
Today, the crackdown that’s happening on Facebook, Google or Twitter, as well as the monitoring therein, is like never before. Fake news stories and digital societies, in general, might never be the same again even after coronavirus.
Information transparency is another possibly permanent transformation that government-to-public communications have witnessed. Governments have for the longest time been keeping important data hidden from the general public, but that has since changed since COVID-19 came to town. Open government data is now becoming a norm, and for good reason. If not for anything else, it has enabled governments to contain coronavirus transmissions and curtail stigmatization.
2. Increased demand for videoconferencing
The economic and social situation that coronavirus has precipitated is putting pressure on business leaders to find alternative ways of delivering services to their clients without jeopardizing the health of their workers.
That is why many people are working from homes and holding virtual meetings from remote locations. It is, however, worth mentioning that the use of video conference technology might be more than just a temporary solution for a temporary situation. It is also a cost-effective and timely way of getting people together to make important business decisions.
Executives are quickly realizing that booking air tickets to attend in-person meetings is not a necessity- it is a luxury. And because finding a professional translation service that offers simultaneous interpretation services for video conferences, it is very easy to bring multilingual audiences on board during teleconferences. It is safe to say that this new trend is just but starting to pick momentum.
3. Communication plans for business
Communication plans- and teams- are quickly becoming more of a need than a convenience. Companies have been forced to figure out what information to share, with whom, and at what point in time. Clear instructions in in-stores might soon be a compliance issue going forward.
In fact, some companies have already hired communication experts to help them communicate with their employees, customers, and the media in an accessible, friendly manner and to develop workable messaging and communications strategies in readiness for future crises.
4. Increased re connection
Many people lose touch with their childhood friends and relatives when they make new friendships in faraway cities. With coronavirus shutting down social interactions, more and more people are reconnecting with their long-lost folks.
People with whom you had nothing in common to talk about anymore are now chatting with you about coronavirus and, unsurprisingly, you are getting your old spark back. The people you let back into your life today out of boredom might remain in it for years to come.
For people that are already in your life but you have never had a meaningful, deep conversation, the extra time that coronavirus has placed on your hands has allowed you to connect more with them and know them even better. If you have been tuned into your communication trends, you might be surprised that you have called more people during this lockdown that you ever did in your entire life before coronavirus, especially if you love text messaging better.
5. Reintroduction of video chatting
The public are embracing video chatting because of the in-person experience it brings. This trend ruled in the early 2010s but faded away with the increased adoption of messaging apps and social media chatting. Thanks to coronavirus, people are suddenly comfortable with video chatting once more.
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The full disruptive potential of the coronavirus on communication trends and methods is yet to reveal itself, but it is possible that it will change communication for the better. People will have more to talk about- more to connect on. Most importantly, people have learned the importance of staying connected with friends and family at all times because life can be pretty unpredictable.