The Coronavirus Crisis Is Showing Us How to Live Online

We’ve always hoped that our digital tools would create connections, not conflict. We have a chance to make it happen.

For someone who has barely left his house, I’ve had a shockingly busy few days.

First, there were the hyperactive group texts, which started up last week with dozens of messages a day from friends about the latest coronavirus news, along with photos of our overstuffed pantries. Then came the FaceTime calls from friends and relatives who were also stuck indoors and trying to stave off loneliness.

Last weekend, in between trips to the grocery store, I checked up on some friends using Twitter D.M.s, traded home-cooking recipes on Instagram, and used WhatsApp to join a blockwide support group with my neighbors. I even put on my Oculus virtual reality headset, and spent a few hours playing poker in a V.R. casino with friendly strangers.

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