The return of F2F2F2F2F2 interactions
As the world returns to normal, we return to the joys of face-to-face connections
Technology can bring us together - and proved this during the pandemic
Our communications today are increasingly intermediated by technology
While people have mixed feelings about the office, conferences are booming
There is nothing to compare with the power of face-to-face interactions
Spontaneous and impromptu gatherings are joyful, but hard to replicate online
The amazing power of F2F human connection
This edition of Forestview is a short one as I am just back home after a week of travel to two events in New York City and Las Vegas. Both were in-person events: the LIIFT event gathering in NYC consisted of a couple of hundred attendees while InsureTech Connect in Vegas set a new event record with approximately 8,500 attendees (and I heard estimates north of 10K+ so I could be short-changing ITC). It was my first time attending LIIFT and my fifth time attending ITC: four in person and one virtually in 2020. These are not the first industry events I’ve attended this year in person, but this week was a terrific reminder of the power of face-to-face human connection with little to no technological intermediation.
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Reconnecting with friends and associates for the first time since prior to the pandemic has been a wonderful feeling. No matter where we live, COVID-19 has impacted all of us in some form. In particular, a feeling of isolation has been a constant theme in people I’ve spoken with. We were connected through technology, communicating via Zoom calls, Slack chats, WhatsApp messages, and of course e-mail. I would often comment to others during this time to try and imagine what the experience living through the global pandemic would have been like without these modern inventions created during the last 10-30 years. For most of us, it was impossible to truly picture how incredibly lonely that experience would have been. It was bad enough to limit human connections to a screen for all but those who lived with us, but it would have been even more challenging if all we had was a phone call.
These in-person gatherings now feel much more than business conferences in 2022. They feel as much of a celebration of life and our ability to connect F2F (or as a friend put it this week, F2F2F2F2F2F2). We can read body language, smiles seem more genuine, handshakes and embraces feel incredibly special. While the dip in financial markets, rise in inflation and interest rates, decrease in funding for startups, and the threat of recession are real concerns, they have not dampened our enthusiasm to be together again as humans. While NFTs, VR, and the metaverse are coming soon I can’t imagine any technology will fully replace the power of human connection.
How has your experience been reintegrating with others post-pandemic? Have you traveled somewhere new or attended a conference or concert that was amazing? Did you make a new friend or two? I’d love to hear your stories of human connection in 2022 in the comments.
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