Transforming with lightning speed for a new era, the internet would like to introduce you to your new way of life — at least for the time being. Weddings, concerts, your work day and more may unfold from the socially-distant confines of your home during an unprecedented time. There are some negatives, to be sure, but also some new upsides — and new questions about whether “social media” can mean the same thing as being social.

“That’s the key question,” explains TC’s Ioana Literat in a new segment for Vice News. “This is going to make us consider, ‘what are the advantages of being there in person? And what do we really miss and need?’”

How Coronavirus Is Finally Fulfilling the Internet's Promise

Literat, Assistant Professor of Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design, contemplates these questions often. And though life before COVID-19 included frequent debates about the effects of screen-time, a different perspective for discussing the digital age is needed, she says.

“As I tell my students all the time: I think the emphasis should be on human agency, because it’s not what social media does to us, but what we do with social media,” says Literat, who frequently examines how new technology influences the ways people interact and how it manifests offline — whether it’s young people discussing politics on TikTok or the need for fairer representation in technology development.

“We are social creatures who are wired to communicate. So we will use existing tools in ways that enrich, rather than impoverish our communication.”

[Related Reading: The creators of LAMBOOZLED! discuss their card game and the overall benefits of using games to help youth develop news literacy skills in Harvard Kennedy School's Misinformation Review.]