The received wisdom among dialogue practitioners is that the online sphere is more likely to divide people than to foster mutual understanding. As our workplaces, social spaces, and college campuses have closed this spring, however, the digital realm is the *only* public sphere that we have available.
During the coronavirus pandemic, digital communication tools and social media have become invaluable in maintaining social connections at a time of physical distancing. My kids each lunch in a Google Hangout; college students are having parties over Zoom; I have been having a happy hour with old college friends. While partisanship and vitriol are still part of the internet, we are all learning a lot about the promise of the “digital public sphere.”
In effort to maintain and strengthen these relationships in a time of social distancing, I’ve been participating in several efforts at Middlebury via my role as faculty co-director of the Engaged Listening Project.
- With Caitlin Myers (Economics), co-hosting a faculty webinar, Faculty at Home. Future events and past recordings here.
- With the student-run newspaper, the Middlebury Campus, a podcast version of the Off-Campus Project. You can listen at the ELP feed here or the Campus feed (here) [links coming soon!]