Post-Pandemic Trends – Old habits die hard, they say. Yet the convenience of having easy recreation options at your fingertips is, in fact, changing the way we spend our free time. Even just a generation ago, before the rise of the Internet, comparatively primitive technological advancements meant that people still got more exercise, met in person more often, and in general moved around more.
But just how much have things really changed? And will the trends ever reverse themselves? A few things are clear: young people today definitely struggle to understand the way their parents and grandparents lived. But are we being too narrow by simply looking at this several-generations span of time? Let’s take a look at some of the trends in recreation through the years and see if we can gain some insight into the way things seem to be heading.
Gen X vs the Millenials
We can’t expect to understand the way our parents lived. Every generation has their version of the trudging-through-seven-miles-of-snow-to-get-to-school lecture. And there will continue to be new versions with every passing generation.
Those of us that were born in the “Gen X” period actually remember the days before mobile phones. We would call our friends (and sometimes wait for a call because the line was busy!), maybe talk for a while, but then eagerly set out to meet with each other. The phone was usually just a prelude to a physical meeting. Rather than texting each other in class, we would write notes on cleverly-folded paper and kick them through the desks so that the teacher wouldn’t notice.
Millennials generally have no concept of such notes, or of the idea that they might not have once been able to chat with all of their friends simultaneously on one common forum. Growing up with mobiles in their hands, communication has always been right at their fingertips.
This doesn’t mean that Millennials are averse to physical activity and in-person gatherings, though. The rise of online dating sites meant that you could post your information online and theoretically have that be a leeway to meeting desirable people in person. Millennials definitely spend some of their time in chat rooms, but they still seem to find ways to get out and stay active.
Enter Gen Z
Generation Z took the whole online phenomenon several steps further. With the rise of AI and advanced communication technology, the draw of spending more and more time online became even greater. Why meet people in person when you’ve got these cool avatars that you can chat with all day long? You can even find ways to “date” online these days. Parents are understandably concerned about the degree to which virtual living is preoccupying their kids these days.
And to some extent this applies to older generations, as well. The lure of advanced communications makes passive living appealing to many generations, to some extent. Gaming is popular among kids, but those people who remember Dungeons and Dragons from their youth also find excitement in the latest online iterations of fantasy games. Who knew that hobbits could involve such cool graphics?
Online casinos and betting sites are another popular pastime. Growing in sophistication and number, there are now a wealth of options available to people globally. In Indonesia, sites are available to guide people through the online betting world. Philippines Sports Betting, for example, is a popular source of information on all things betting-related. There are also popular sites for slots, “table” games, card games, and because an increasing number are utilizing blockchain technology, things like currency issues are becoming less of an interference.
Pandemic as a multiplier
Beyond the characteristics of these generations, the pandemic took all of these tendencies and multiplied them. Being forced to stay home, people no longer had the option of physical versus virtual, and therefore the online world exploded in popularity. As terrible as this period was in many aspects of life, it was definitely a boon to the digital world. Parents once worried about their children’s health due to lack of activity suddenly became grateful that they weren’t going outside. Chat rooms were looked at as actual living rooms, and Zoom became the world’s playground.
The question everyone has now is, will these tendencies continue to increase, or will people become jaded with the strictly virtual world and want a return to the days of yore? Will they even remember this concept? With every passing year, fewer and fewer people remember the great rush outdoors to see friends that we couldn’t otherwise communicate with in a group.
What does the future hold?
One thing that everyone agrees on is that there will be a meteoric rise in the future of AI. Computers will be much more refined at communicating, processing, and taking on tasks that were once the proprietary domain of humans.
The “metaverse” is likewise expanding. 3-D experiences are becoming more realistic and will therefore be more enticing to people potentially spending a lot of their time online. It’s not quite Jetsons-level flying walkways and programmable food capsules, but the level of technical sophistication is skyrocketing, for sure.
Will this mean a full-scale move away from old-school socialization? In all likelihood, no. There will be a turning back. Not a full-scale one, of course, but at least a shift away from the total virtual existence being experimented with by many young people today. Like all animals, people have always lived in groups. And while we are better at making our lives easier with our inventions, this doesn’t eliminate the need for in-person socializing. The shift away from the traditional office space towards coworking is a good example of this.
We should expect the next generation to be both more technologically advanced, as well as more balanced socially than the ones before it. Research indicates that people feel lonelier now than they did in previous generations. With our ever more refined way to invent solutions, we will surely come up with one for this, as well.2023-01-16