The world is wild and the industry needs to get closer than ever before

COVID-19 is changing the social and professional landscape. Urban List's Susannah George says that although life in media is a mess for many right now, we need to come together and dial up the connectivity.

2019’s word of the year was “they”. It symbolised a world softening the binary lines of gender, a pronoun for a future that was maybe a little unclear—but for the most part, exciting, open and new.

2020’s phrase appears to be “social distancing” — a practice we’ve been advised to adopt in the face of our enemy: COVID-19. And while the rest of the world seems ready to embrace the inevitable need for isolation, as a company, we’re leaning the other way.

To us, it feels human connection is exactly what the world needs right now. We need to change the distancing dialogue — encouraging “physical distancing” while dialling up on the social connectivity we need more than ever.

Photo by Noah on Unsplash

I founded Urban List in 2011 as a means of inspiring people to live their best life. What’s hard about living our best lives right now, though, is that our sense of connection—to what we love, to where we’re from, to where we work, and to our future plans—has largely been cut off, personally and professionally.

News outlets aside, most publishers are fighting to find our feet in a world that’s pretty wild. I feel we’ve landed on ours in a way that feels right and real — closing the connection gap for an audience craving contact: showing the sunshine that can exist in self-isolation, supporting our city’s small businesses and culture safely, helping people work from home and kick their professional goals, and inspiring us all to plan for our post-corona future. ‘Cause yes, there will
be one.

Life in media is a mess for many right now. Moral concerns. Do I dial up the fear to get the click? Commercial concerns. How do we pivot to retain the campaign? Health concerns. What is the real risk of the current climate?

Every brand manager I talk to is caught between carrying on and appearing tone deaf, or hitting pause and missing the moment.

In my opinion, the best thing any of us can do is lean in to forging closeness and connections — being the glue that allows our teams, audiences and customers the chance to connect with what and who they love.

Creating physical distance is absolutely right. But not at the expense of the social closeness that keeps our world so critically connected. And we’ll be doing our part to dial up that connectivity despite COVID-19.

Catch you for a virtual quarantini.

Susannah George is the founder of Urban List


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