Tech Feature: Using Technology to Deepen Social Connections
Date:Wednesday November 11, 2020
In some ways, using technology can be isolating: eyes glued to a phone don’t exactly invite conversation with those around you. But as many of us have found during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, using tech to connect digitally with those who we can’t physically be with can be a fun distraction, or even a valuable lifeline. Here are some ways technology use can help deepen your social connections with family, friends, and mentors.
Everyone knows that social media is a great tool for staying in touch with friends and family. Some social platforms like Facebook also allow you to join interest-based private groups, where you can read, share, and connect with other people who you have things in common with. Below are some groups* created for first responders and their families, where they can share experiences, advice, and support for one another:
- First Responder’s Network
- Firefighters Worldwide
- Firefigher’s Community
- Women in Law Enforcement, EMS, and Firefighting
- Law Enforcement Family
- Fitness Ops: Police, Fire, Military
- Brotherhood of Christian Law Enforcement Officers
- Wildland Firefighters
In addition to Facebook, LinkedIn is another social network designed to allow professionals to connect with one another. LinkedIn is often used for professional recruiting in the business world, but can also be a good source for building connections between individuals and cultivating mentorship opportunities. If you haven’t created a profile yet, now is a great time.
Within Your Agency
Communication within your own agency can be challenging, especially during COVID lockdowns and social distancing requirements, or during times of widespread unrest. Internal communication systems such as Apex IRIS provide agencies mobile apps that feature virtual roll call, bulletins, phone directories, alerts/notifications, and more. Apex IRIS also has the ability for small groups or teams within an organization to communicate, sharing information and resources even when they aren’t physically working together.
There are also many web-based services and resources available to help you connect with others.
- Web-based video games on Xbox, Playstation, or PC are a fun way to collaborate and have some fun during time off the clock. Players are able to chat in real-time while playing the same or even different games.
- Zoom or Skype are often used these days for everything from online classes to catching up with grandma. Consider using one of these services in a group format that allows you to host movie nights where a group of friends can watch your favorite movies or TV simultaneously.
- Along the same lines, consider hosting a virtual game night via Houseparty, which puts the games right into the app for you. It’s simple to use and supports up to eight callers at once. Trivia, Head’s Up! and other popular party games are available, with in-app purchases available to expand your selection of categories and topics to keep the games going.
With the variety of options and resources available, staying connected with others in your social and professional circles is, in some ways, easier than ever.
*Lighthouse Health & Wellness doesn’t endorse or have affiliation with any of the Facebook groups named in this article.