Ever since we’ve all gone into confinement, each at our own homes, social media has been one of the few means of communicating with one another. It’s even become quite essential. But an unexpected phenomenon has also occurred simultaneously: Our favourite platforms have become uncontaminated as quickly as the canals of Venice.
Almost instantly, vain influencers and petty or cynical people no longer have a place on our feeds. Given that this situation spares no one, both our close friends and famous celebrities are feeling the need to share. There’s no need for glossiness or fancy filters to make our realities “perfect.” Because at the moment, the photos of hearty soups, sandwiches and large plates of pasta that are being shared have taken on a new meaning. They’re no longer saying, “Look at how hot I am” but rather, “Just letting you know that I’m safe and taking care of myself.”
My social life has also never been this full and connected. I am having lunch with my colleagues over Google Hangouts or Zoom, then doing the dishes while jamming to a Sofi Tukker DJ set livestream. I’m getting inspired by chefs from here (Ricardo, Danny St-Pierre) and abroad (including Massimo Bottura and his Kitchen Quarantine). I’m dancing with Christine and the Queens, singing on my balcony with Martha Wainwright, and having virtual happy hours with friends from almost everywhere.
We’re also working with limited resources: decor, sound quality and camera shots have never been so unimportant. People are inviting us into their homes, through the lens of their smartphone camera, for little glimpses into their lives full of creativity and authenticity. Like Ricardo, for example, who—alone with his tripod—is filming videos of himself making Portuguese tarts, bread, pancakes… It’s a treat to go online each day and see what new video will be shared today. And here’s hoping that, once this is all behind us, we will keep this generosity that has spontaneously occurred.
What if Mark Zuckerberg was right? We all laughed at him and his false candour each time he said he never invented Facebook to make money. “The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently.” The scandals (hello, Cambridge Analytica) have, over the years, changed our perception of social media. But this pandemic has had an effect we never suspected. It has brought us back to what’s important: being together, no matter the means.
So, even though Sartre may have said, “Hell is other people,” I’ll go with Donne instead: “No man is an island.”