The COVID-19 pandemic has devastating effects on many aspects of normal life for people, not the least of which has been social connection. As humans, we are social creatures that thrive on the ability to relate to others and share our experiences together. With social distancing regulations in place and many schools shut down, most of the traditional avenues for interaction have been cut off.
Fortunately, market incentives create alternatives. With technology platforms such as Zoom, Discord, and Twitch, people have been able to connect with each other even in this time of separation. While conferencing software like Zoom was and is being used for professional purposes, it has allowed friends and families to see each other, celebrate birthdays, and catch up even with social distancing restrictions. What’s more, platforms like Twitch and Discord have allowed people to join new communities and make entirely new friends. In a situation which would have otherwise left individuals alone, people have been able to seek out ways to make new connections. Since the start of this year, for instance, Discord has increased its userbase by 50%:
“We’re seeing regions impacted by COVID-19 turn to us to stay in touch with their friends and family. Yesterday, we highlighted some of the amazing ways that our community has turned to Discord during these times through things like virtual classrooms, remote working, online workout classes, and weekly D&D game nights.
In Spain and France, the daily number of people talking on Discord has more than doubled since the beginning of 2020; in Italy, it’s more than tripled. In the US, we are seeing a 50 percent growth in daily voice users, with the highest growth in states like California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.”
Thanks to free markets, people around the world have been able to socialize and connect in a time of loneliness. Whether it’s family across the state or friends I’ve made online, I’ve been able to experience the warmth of socialization thanks to the opportunities these entrepreneurs have created.