Social Networking in the Post “Zoom” Age

How Your Online Network has Changed Recently

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that we’re far more reliant on social interactions than we realized.  Even those who are the introvertiest of the introverts realized that changing dynamics throughout the day was how they coped with people overstimulation.

Because we hadn’t gone through a shut-down-the-nation pandemic before, we were all thrown into this thing together.  And we had to figure out, on the fly, how to make it work.

What has come up is a radical change in social networking; especially if you want to maintain your mental health when a large part of your interactions are online.

Being Stuck is Terrible for Mental Health

Introverts saw the great shut down as a way for them to declare their time had finally come.  But for many of them, it wasn’t the relief they had longed for.

Despite what the introvert personality type may tell you, it’s not that they crave the absence of people; they crave the ability to escape those people that have filled their social glass to the limit.  Moving from one network to another, or to chosen isolation, allows them to reset.

When people are forced into isolation… or forced into being around their family 24/7, it can cause more strain on mental health than they realize.  The pandemic, especially in cities and states that had a really strict and extended lockdown, saw more introverts suffering than they realized.

Social Networks of the 2010’s are Terrible for Mental Health

In order to cope with this forced isolation, millions of people turned to their social networks.  Social media usage increased by 20% during the year 2020 (versus 2019), and has remained high to this point.

The reason is very clear: people craved that human interaction that they weren’t getting.

However, anyone that has seen the movie The Social Dilemma sees how deleterious social media is on mental health.

Breaking it down into the simplest explanation: social media isn’t interaction, it’s entertainment.  We post our best and most exciting pictures.  We scroll past the stuff that doesn’t entertain us, and focus on the pretty pictures, funny videos, and postings that give us that quick little dopamine hit.

This type of “networking” isn’t networking at all.  It’s killing time, and being entertained.

Networking in Web 3.0; How to Maximize It

The best thing, however, that came from the pandemic, is that it forced us to learn how to network online in a way that builds relationships, and actually matters.  I call it Networking in Web 3.0.

If you’re unfamiliar, Web 3.0 is the latest version of the internet.  It’s the interactive web.  Where Web 2.0 saw the introduction of social media, Web 3.0 sees the integration of AI, social, and more-or-less apps that function just about anywhere you have service.

Because we’re now all connected to Web 3.0, our networking online has changed from one where we’re consuming other people’s content, to one where we’re interacting more or less like the chat rooms and forums of old.  This is where real relationships can be built, and we’re there to learn and grow together instead of merely being entertained.

This new era of networking is using sites like Slack to create channels with dedicated themes and topics.  To create Clubhouse where people can listen in on conversations and grow together.  To create rooms in Discord where communities can get together.  We’re seeing more and more of these apps and sites pop up because we’ve learned that’s what people want for their mental health.

TEDxBillings Helps You Grow

At TEDxBillings, we’re all about the community of Billings.  In our town, we can get together and socialize in person now.  But there may come another time when we’re forced into isolation again.

Instead of driving ourselves down mentally, we’re better prepared with apps and sites that are going to help us stay connected, without worsening depression.

Social media has its place.  But it’s not for creating those true and lasting relationships that we are used to creating in person.  Instead, networking in Web 3.0 will help bridge that gap.