Rabbi David Paskin
The Pandemic is Over, Why Bother?
Ok, maybe it isn't over, but it has waned enough that businesses, schools, and offices are opening up. So it seems like a fair question to ask - why should we bother trying to reach out and teach people in digital space when we can just invite them to gather physically?
Most of us turned to streaming and using digital tools in response to the Pandemic. We saw it as a necessary evil. If we take a step back, though, and think about all that we have been able to do with these technologies, it is really quite amazing: Students have continued learning, congregations have continued connecting, and teams have continued meeting and developing.
In fact, I would argue that some of the unique and creative learning, connecting, and meeting would not have happened had we not been forced to make this shift. New tools were created and discovered that allowed us to learn just about anything from just about anyone at any time; we were reminded of the power of looking in another person's eyes; we realized how good it feels to hear your name said out loud by a speaker or teacher (thank you Zoom name tags); and we were empowered to be more creative than ever before both for ourselves and our students, co-workers and audiences. So the question now is, when we are able to shift back - are we going to leave this all behind?
So the question now is, when we are able to shift back - are we going to leave this all behind?
Beyond all of this newfound creativity, the pandemic also opened our eyes to how small our world can be when we use digital tools. I have had the honor of meeting and learning with people from all over the globe - from California to New York and London to South Africa and Australia. Reaching and teaching people online allows our audiences, congregations and classrooms to be far larger and far richer because of the diversity that digital space allows. So if you are seeking to grow your community there is no question that you should be engaging with folks online.
Perhaps more important than growing your community is serving your community. Do you have folks who may want to learn with you who are in the hospital or traveling? Do you have students or community members who may want to participate with you who cannot drive at night? Expanding your reaching and teaching to digital space not only allows your community to grow but also for each and every member of your community to be an active participant no matter where they are or what circumstances may prevent them from joining you physically on-site.
If you want to continue growing your reach and what you teach, digital space is the next frontier. Digital space is where our creativity will continue to flourish; where new educational and engagement methodologies will be developed; and where more people will come together to learn, connect and grow than anywhere else.
Zoom is releasing new features every week - some of which are technical and boring and others are truly useful. You can read all about the latest releases from Zoom here.