According to research from the World Economic Forum, digital skills are more important than ever for entering into the workforce. In an age where digital technology is so deeply enmeshed in our lives, even what would previously have been considered entry-level jobs require an increasingly high minimum level of digital skills. This includes, for example, training in technical skills, fluency with digital data, and other forms of technological literacy that play an important role in the tech-driven knowledge economy.
Although researchers have long identified the importance of tech literacy in our working and professional lives, one aspect that has been often overlooked is the role that digital literacy is playing in our social lives.
And just like how competency with digital skills and general tech literacy have established themselves as a dividing line in the workforce, there is also a growing digital divide in our social lives.
It seems, then, that the tech-driven knowledge economy also covers our social and interpersonal relationships. But how exactly is the increasing availability of technology and our familiarity with it changing the way we conduct our social lives?
Online gaming and socialising
Although video games have long been a popular pastime for many individuals across a wide variety of age ranges, online technology has had a profound impact on how we use video games to socialise.
In the early days of video games, social gaming usually meant meeting up in person to hang out at an arcade for a few hours, or arranging a get-together at a friend’s house to indulge in some in-person multiplayer action.
Online technology has changed all this, however, with arcades now very much a relic of the past, and in-person, multiplayer gatherings an increasing rarity.
These days, multiplayer games are overwhelmingly played online. And while at first glance you might think this means that we are losing an important social element associated with in-person multiplayer games, the opposite is actually true. Online games allow you to connect with like-minded individuals no matter where in the world you are located.
These games could be large multiplayer role-playing games, or increasingly, online casino games. Online casinos have become particularly popular in recent months, with many brick-and-mortar casinos having closed down. Rizk Canada has many online slots and has attracted players looking for a way to catch up with friends in a fun environment.
For this reason, online games are becoming an incredibly popular way of keeping in touch with old friends or making new acquaintances.
This presents an issue, however, as online games typically require the player to have a fairly high degree of tech literacy before getting started. This can create somewhat of a barrier to entry, depending on what age demographic you belong to or based on your general familiarity with digital technologies.
Television, film and online watch parties
Another recent technological development that presents a new and exciting digital alternative to in-person socialising has come with the rise of online streaming platforms.
One of the most popular in-person activities to enjoy with friends is going to the cinema. Since public cinemas were first introduced, a trip to the cinema has been an entertaining way to catch up with friends and enjoy a shared love of film. However, the rise of online streaming and internet-enabled TV platforms presents a new alternative to this well-established pastime.
Over the last year, and especially with the possibility of in-person socialising being curtailed, many online streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix have added viewing party features.
These features allow you to invite friends who have a subscription to a particular service to watch a film with you in real time. This attempts to recreate the experience of visiting a cinema with your friends – albeit in a virtual environment. While this is by no means a complete replacement to a trip to your local cinema, it is nevertheless a great option for those friend groups whose members live in different corners of the globe.
Online viewing parties are another interesting example of how well existing in-person activities are being adapted to the demands of the digital age. And although they do not necessarily present a threat to in-person socializing, they provide an insight into what our social lives might look like in a couple of years. They also show us how important digital skills and tech literacy will be to socializing in the future.