By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – A normally bustling downtown Denver is looking more like a ghost town as of recent, with bars and restaurants being forced to halt business. Coronavirus concerns mean people are more distanced from one another however, people are getting creative about spending intentional time together.

(credit: CBS)

That’s why virtual socializing is becoming the new normal. It includes everything from video conferences, game nights, and online games. People are even moving to online happy hours.

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Programs like Zoom and Skype provide the platform, and participants don’t even have to leave the house, dress up, or wait in line at a crowded bar to enjoy a cocktail and catch up.

Pete Seel, a former Colorado State University journalism professor and published author on the topic of social media, is embracing the surge in tech hangouts. In fact, he has established weekly happy hours with friends of his.

While social media may have previously gotten a bad rap, Seel says it’s making a comeback.

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“So, when social media first came out, it was embraced as a great way to stay connected. Over the years, there have been some negative connotations. I think this has really turned around people’s connotations of how useful it can be. I think this a great use of the technology and it does help counter those criticisms about it being used in negative ways,” explained Seel.

He says even if it’s not in person, the social interaction is essential for one’s well-being and overall inclusivity.

“I think it’s absolutely crucial. Especially if you’re a single person living alone or if you’re a couple isolated from your family, from your kids, from your relatives. It’s crucial to make these connections. And we’re blessed to do more than just a phone call. You can see them laugh, you can see them cry, you can see all the emotions you would see face to face. They’re there because we have this video technology,” said Seel.

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Pete practices what he preaches. He kindly extended a virtual happy hour invitation to CBS4’s Mekialaya White over Skype at the conclusion of their interview.

Mekialaya White