Alone Together: How to Find Community Through Online Events
Practically overnight, "shelter in place" orders have canceled events, closed bars and restaurants, and emptied streets and public parks. It's a trying time for everyone — especially those in the service and events industry. All of us are feeling the emotional strain of being isolated from our coworkers, friends, and family. But humans have a fundamental need to connect, and social distancing doesn't have to mean social isolation.
Amidst the anxiety, uncertainty, and loneliness, a new way of gathering has started to emerge. Communities are carving out spaces to assemble and support one another online. In the era of TikTok and Instagram Live, we are perfectly positioned to weather a socially distanced storm together — and the people are showing up.
From artists live streaming Instagram concerts to guided meditations and yoga classes offered on Zoom, people are finding ways to reach out and create connections while staying at home. Eventbrite, a platform traditionally known for discovering in-person gatherings, is seeing a shift toward consumers choosing online experiences as a way to stay engaged, creative, and connected from the safety of their homes: The platform reports a 227% growth in virtual events in the past month alone, proving that people are coming up with innovative ways to stay connected with their communities.
Friendships don't need to take a hiatus because you're social distancing. Bolster connections with friends by inviting them along with you to your virtual events. After all, we need each other now more than ever. Whether you want to sharpen your knife skills or learn how to make pasta, break a sweat at a virtual dance class, or learn to adopt positive thinking and coping mechanisms, there's a place to connect and learn online — and there's something for everyone.
Here are some of our favorites:
For parents: Struggling to entertain quarantined children while trying to work from home? There's a plethora of online development classes around to keep kids busy. Everything from art classes and coding classes to comedy classes and fitness classes for kids have gone online.
For book nerds: There's no better time to start working your way through your bookshelf. Quarantine Book Club allows you to engage in spirited discussions with authors without leaving your home, while The Goddess Council is hosting monthly virtual book clubs and conversation.
For battling anxiety: There's no doubt that we're all feeling the emotional stress of this pandemic. Sit back and enjoy guided meditations, breathing exercises, and helpful discussions with Mind EQ and The Art of Living Foundation or just check in and make sure you're staying connected with Are You Ok?: a series of virtual gatherings.
For a good workout: Just because your gym is closed doesn't mean you have to give up your fitness regimen. In fact, staying energized and healthy is more important now than ever. Pop in for yoga with Jody Hahn, let loose at an invigorating virtual dance party, or get your heart pumping with Zumba with Melody. Workout from home with Grillz & Granola or run a virtual 5k for Aussie Wildlife Rescue. However you like to sweat, you can find it online.
For self-improvement: Being stuck at home is the perfect time to learn a new skill or sharpen your existing knowledge. Learn about wine from a certified sommelier, try your hand at cooking with The Cookery Club, or practice your Spanish skills no matter what your level with Easy Español's conversation workshops.
For fun: Catch a live concert with Keep Music Live or the Afro-Peruvian Sextet or laugh with Tara Henderson at Mommy Needs a Drink and with Laugh Factory during their daily free live comedy streaming. It's important to remember to carve out time for yourself to smile and enjoy the little things.
For a full range of unique online and virtual experiences, check out this collection.
Eloise Porter is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She is currently a creative and content producer at Eventbrite.