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Survival Innovations: Work from Home and Digital Social Life

States are beginning to reopen, and cut back on lockdown measures after months of life changing decisions. While some are welcoming the return of normal in someway, I think some things were changed for the better. We must be able to see the benefits of how we adapted as a society, and continue those benefits into the future. Mainly working from home, and the development of new forms of entertainment online are survival innovations that have major potential to enhance people’s lives from now on.

Working from home was already a debated topic in the office world. It was considered an option for employees who earned it. It has become the new norm since the arrival of coronavirus earlier this year, and its rise was helped by technologies, like Zoom, that took advantage of this large need for adaptation. Businesses capable of the change were able to maintain their workflow throughout the lockdown, instead of closing down completely.

Businesses and employees are not the only ones who benefit though. When you realize how much of our daily life is affected by the traditional office life, the benefits start to reveal themselves. Less people are driving to and from work, leading to less traffic and lower gas prices. Working parents are able to spend more time at home while still being able to work full time, thereby getting rid of the need for expensive childcare. And people are able to have more time overall to spend on other productive or relaxing habits.

There are some negatives that come with this change though. With the change in the amount of business occurring during lockdown, some companies have cut back on the amount of employees they have. Seeing if companies maintain these low numbers to cut costs will be something to pay attention to in the future. Some companies are also considering foregoing offices as we once knew them, and that will lead to its own consequences in the future as well. The large ecosystem of businesses, such as restaurants or stores around offices, will be hurt in significant ways if this change were to occur.

The other big change in society is the change in large social events. The postponement of the NBA was not the first news that showed the change occurring in live events, but it was the largest. One of the first signs of disaster in the event world was the postponement and eventual cancellation of Coachella. The poster child of music festivals was no longer taking place in 2020, and eventually all other festivals followed suit. The safety of guests, and the liability of companies were too great compared to people’s need to escape into a wonderland of indulgence, inebriation and music. Soon enough all events were cancelled whether it be stand up comedy tours or performances at the opera. The risk of sickness was just too great.

Nightlife and social life as a whole was too much of a risk in this new environment. The designated purpose of these places and events posed a threat to public health. While bars and restaurants are able to reopen and maintain social distancing, nightclubs and concerts have yet to announce any change in lockdown status. Luckily, creative people are using technology to their advantage and creating a digital nightlife to keep people entertained.

DJ D-Nice’s record breaking Instagram livestream was a clear example that people wanted the vibes that come from listening to a DJ mix records together while locked down in their homes. What made it different from listening to the radio though was the ability to see how many other viewers were vibing with you, and the ability to chat with each other as well as the DJ. Therefore turning it from a passive act of listening to an active act of interacting. Many other DJs followed suit doing their own live streams to help people cope through lockdown, and allowing the audience to help the DJ cope by donating to their cashapps. Other new forms of livestream music entertainment developed as well, such as Swizz Beatz’ Verzuz series and Travis Scott’s collaboration with Fortnite. And it is with the latter that things become very interesting.

Fortnite had done an in-game performance with the EDM artist Mashmello, but their performance with Travis Scott reached outside of the videogame's fan base, and brought millions of people to the game world. These viewers were then able to witness something that would otherwise be impossible in the real world. A bigger than life performance from an

in-game, giant Travis Scott model that took players out to space, literally. The designers behind Fortnite were no longer playing by live performance’s rules. Instead they were doing something that only a digital world could create.

That is the potential that live-streams, or digital performances could have in the future as social hangouts begin to reopen. When people no longer need to rely on live-streams for “social-like” interactions, they can gather to view something fantastic if creatives put the time and energy behind it. Till then though, people will still need a hazard free release while bars and restaurants remain to be a testing ground for what is safe and not safe, and this will come with quality live-streams from talented DJs. Unfortunately it seems it will not come with Instagram live.

While Instagram live seemed to be the new home for people looking for digital social interaction, the app was not ready for the attention in that way. IG live was more of a place for short Q&As, or to offer behind the scene access to creatives creating their products. It wasn’t made for hours long music performances. This can be seen from complaints centered around the quality of the video and sound, and the quality of life for viewers. The last straw that broke IG though was the copyright and legal actions beginning to happen with the music.

DJ Marky for Serato Fest with 15k viewers

Twitch was then able to pick up the ball that IG dropped. With better quality, better chat capabilities, built in monetary possibilities for performers, and the ability to multitask on your phone while still hearing the music, Twitch was a better option in all ways. What started as a site dedicated to live-streaming video games, is now becoming popular with an entirely different audience. Luckily this music audience does have overlap with the video game audience as well which could lead to new lifelong users of Twitch. Once again another survival innovation that could lead to genuine success in a world that needs success more than ever.

Keep innovating and keep surviving.

Thanks for reading.

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