As a graduating senior, I thought my networking opportunities were over when my University cancelled all in person events. Little did I know, I find myself going to more events now that my schedule is clear and I don't need to take the time to transport myself to campus. On top of that, my classes are recorded and posted to YouTube, so I have a much more flexible schedule than ever before. At first, none of us really knew how these virtual events would go, and people were anxious about whether they could even get the technology to work. What started out as an inconvenience, blossomed into an opportunity. With everyone staying home, interaction with people across the globe has never been easier, as long as you don't mind the occasional lapse on Zoom. Now that distance is no longer a factor, most people can spare an hour to attend an online event.
With this huge digital transformation, my thoughts are, why haven't we tried this sooner? I wonder why we have waited so long to utilize the technology that we all have access to, and, let's be honest, we could all use more experience in. The world is changing before our eyes. Virtual meetings, interviews, networking events, etc. will become the new norm as this may be the defining event of the decade.
Young professionals must use this as an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. We must learn to use this opportunity (and newly found free time) to learn how to use these video conferencing platforms, because it will be an important skill to have and attend online events that you may not have been able to attend prior to the virtual shift. Since virtual events will likely be the norm for the next few months. I expect to see an increase in virtual events even after a vaccine and herd immunity, due to the convenience that we have been experiencing with video conference platforms.
In a world of social distancing, professionals no longer have to fly and book expensive hotels to attend events because it can easily be done in the convenience in their living room or home office. I can imagine virtual events will become a lot more prominent in the next several years, possibly even influencing future generations to continue participating in virtual meetups. Going forward, being virtually connected will bring us together even though we're physically apart.