Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COVID-19 and the Residue It Leaves Us as a Society

COVID-19, the disease that causes a respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms, has forever changed and reshaped the way the society has comfortably settled in for the past century of the industrial and information era.    Unless if one is in a remote part of the world untied to society, everyone has been affected by the political, economic, and social consequences.

Zoom - If it weren't popular already for companies using videoconferencing for telecommuting, the Zoom app has shot up to ubiquity for most who are now working from home, with one media outlet christening it as the "darling of remote workers."   It's quickly becoming a verb for those who need to community digitally over the web and sits atop as of the most popular free apps in dozens of countries.   It speaks the future of working for those who don't need an office or an organization that doesn't necessarily need to spare physical spaces for its workforce, particularly as workers become disposable upon projects.  It's an eerie

Amazon - "Coronavirus Is Speeding Up the Amazonification of the Planet" as one article puts it, and as restaurants, bars, and local shops close down, Amazon is quickly swooping to fill the void of customers and jobs.  Amazon is taking advantage of the gap by welcoming these unemployed staffers "until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back" - which of course may take a while -- or never -- depending on the economic damage of Covid-19. The consumer shift to online retailers from physical storefronts has been happening already, and this may be the tipping point in accelerating the takeover over the retail market.   I can't blame Amazon.  I simply can purchase more items instantaneously with a click of a button and forget about it until it arrives at my front door.

Netflix - In this age of the pandemic, who isn't streaming from an online service during those quiet quarantine hours into the night?   It seems like what entertained you yesterday evening on Netflix has become watercooler talk.   Aside from its entertainment, Netflix has really driven home the ubiquity of streaming collections and digital platforms that consumers now rely on more so than ever along with broadband internet.  Of course, it's not just Netflix, but other services such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO GO, and Xfinity.   While on the one hand this divergence away from the cable networks and big Hollywood may appear to disrupt traditional media platforms, has it really changed anything? It seems that much of the same monolithic and cultural hegemony continues albeit in another technology.    The question remains, what's really changed after this is all over?

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