Let me explain before I get too many negative comments! The term “social distancing” is currently everywhere. From every direction, we are being told that we need to socially distance from one another. This term has always rankled me because it goes against everything that makes us human. Humans are born into social groups and function as members of the larger society. Our ability to socialize has been an essential part of our evolution. Words have enormous power and once they become part of our vernacular, it is very difficult to change them. During this pandemic, we need to physically distance ourselves from one another, not socially distance.
Think about the following. With the creation of the Internet and its connectivity through various products, we are able to speak, view and interact with people and loved ones nearly all over the world. This is a form of social interaction via our digital providers. Basically, we’ve already been programmed to accept social interaction via a smart phone, computer, tablet and so on. If we now accept the terminology “social distancing” we are telling our brain that it is a good thing, when it really isn’t. You don’t want to socially distance yourself from others, what you want to do is physically distance yourself. Once we start telling ourselves that it is okay to socially distance, we open ourselves to accept not only the words but also the action. Potentially, we could be preparing the upcoming generations that mingling socially in person is bad and that we should use the present technology to ensure that we are socially distancing ourselves from human contact thereby protecting ourselves from potential diseases.
We truly have to ask ourselves, where are we heading? Words have a very powerful effect on humans. Many of today’s challenges are based on words being used wrongfully. When you think about the power of advertising, you understand how humans can be easily lead down a certain path just by bombarding them with words that evoke certain emotions, wether it be fear, joy, love, etc. It can take years to change our thoughts and views of words that have been or are still in use today. So, it goes without saying that we should be extra careful when creating a slogan that could affect our future because of its connotation.
Let’s be real, we have never full on marketed any types of diseases in the past as we have done for Covid 19. We’ve built an entire marketing strategy around this one. As a matter of fact, 2020 will go down in history as the year of “Social Distancing”. We need to put the focus back on the fact that it is a virus of pandemic proportions known as Covid-19, and as a result, we need to physically distance ourselves from one another, not socially distance.