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The Dual Dangers Of Intimacy And Isolation In A Pandemic

Neal Milner
Source: Honolulu Civil Beat
Social contact can spread the virus but also protect communities during crises, so we rely on imperfect social media.

A day in the life of COVID-19: texting with people you normally see; Zoom for gatherings, FaceTime with your children; Google for virus information; new email groups.

Social media is revolutionizing the way we deal with a pandemic like coronavirus. It’s really quite remarkable, all the ways at our disposal to get information and keep our worried minds distracted.

Most important, these tools have changed the ways we are keeping in touch with one another in the face of social space and quarantines.

t’s worth considering exactly why social media is so valuable here.  But it’s also worth looking at social media’s limitations — subtle but vital limits we feel at a deep, emotional level.

Putting it personally, when I now check in with my family, I feel reassured for a moment, but then my imagination kicks in.

Social media is a sugar high — you feel better, but then you’re pretty quickly back to your old self.

Social media is such an important tool in the COVID-19 crisis because it mitigates two things that can sicken or even kill.

One is intimacy.  The other is isolation.

Read more at Honolulu Civil Beat

Neal Milner is a former political science professor at the University of Hawaii where he taught for 40 years. He is a political analyst for KITV and is a regular contributor to Hawaii Public Radio's "The Conversation." His most recent book is The Gift of Underpants. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views.