If you’re like the rest of us, you met your friends through your degree, first year accomodation or a society. Maybe they invited you for a coffee. You exchanged a song or two, maybe a meme if you’re into that. Next thing you know, you’re regular guests at each other’s dinner parties.
But at some point, life happens. There are assignments, exams, graduation, and apparently pandemics too. Certainly, with busy lives, it’s easy to lose track. It’s all so discouraging.
According to The Economist, 2 in 10 adults in the UK say they always or often feel lonely. What’s worse, 42 per cent of millennial women are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis.
As a generation, we have responded to our loneliness in many ways. We love relaxed, co-working spaces, flock to dense urban locales and are never disconnected with the world thanks to the personal supercomputers we call our cell phones. In short, we have created beautiful makeshift communities and congregated with each other in alternative families, many times online. However weird you are, you can find your fellow weirdos someplace in the world.
While these relationships are authentic, they cannot substitute the warmth of a face to face interaction or the vulnerability of a hug. As much as I love a Netflix Party, I miss having someone to hide behind when the girl from The Ring crawls out of the TV.
And loneliness is not only contemplated in empty bedrooms or impersonal scientific articles. The conversation now extends to public officials on parliamentary floors. In early 2018, the former Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a Minister of Loneliness based on a recommendation from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
Since then, the minister has created a strategy to combat loneliness and while this strategy has had many successes, there is a new threat: the pandemic. Us city dwellers are stuck in our tiny, overpriced rooms (at least we’re getting the bang for our buck.) This is necessary to protect the communities we love so dearly. The coronavirus pandemic must take priority over the loneliness pandemic, but we have to prepare to deal with the exacerbated effects of loneliness brought about by the coronavirus.
The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness called on every community member, from council and public sector leaders to business leaders, employers, community and volunteer groups and everyday citizens to act on the issue. The founders at Rumble, a new social calendar app, have answered the call. Shree Bhandari, Matt Harrison and Tony Zhao created the app to break down the barriers to real life meetups.
Rumble is not just a social availability indicator. Instead, it is a social calendar designed by three friends who were tired of cancelled plans and clashing schedules. “The whole process of organising a social event is tedious and incredibly manual, especially with a big group – not being able to agree on a date, remembering plans and, if you manage to get to that stage, spending ages trying to find something to do”, said Shree.
The app will give you the opportunity to find new, exciting venues or events in your area to visit and find an appropriate time that will suit all of your calendars. As great as it feels to be a regular at a locale where the bartender knows your favourite drinks and can name all your plants, it can be exciting to try new, local bars.
Rumble is an all-in-one platform that instantly matches available events to the dates indicated by your group’ synced calendars. Dates and events can be coordinated, voted, booked and sent to calendars from within the group chat. It is a user-friendly social organisational platform designed for you to use every day with the aim is to use screen to screen interaction to encourage face to face meetups.
“We believe the way we socialise today is broken – we spend more time on our screens than meeting face to face and it’s having a serious impact on our health and quality of relationships … If no one provides a simple solution, this trend will only get worse,” said Matt.
We, at EUSci, are committed to using Rumble. It may not seem it, but there are a lot of elements to organizing a society. As president, I have meetings with our ten teams, a combination of any teams as well as other societies, sponsors and supporters every month. Rumble could help us grow, connect with our writers and contributors, and generally make my life easier, and it could do this for any society.
Beyond my professional life, I have friends and I actually enjoy spending time with them. While our spa nights and dinner parties are great, I don’t have a dishwasher and frankly, would prefer to go out sometimes. Especially right now, while business security is threatened by the pandemic, it is important to support our newly reimagined community spaces. Rumble can help me do that. And I would also be able to find a suitable date without going through a gruelling boomerang conversation about our seven clashing schedules. All in one app.
Of course, I came to Edinburgh to study for a degree, even if I forget it sometimes. I can use Rumble to organize my uni life too, from lectures to 1 on 1 personal tutor meetings, to small group tutorials or lab schedules. The beauty of Rumble is that your social group chats can add events to your calendars and all you have to do is say if they are going or not.
That being said, an app can’t do it all. An app can’t cure a public health crisis, but it certainly shows the willingness of our communities to make a change and our deep desire to connect in person. Historically, pandemics have forced humanity to break up with the past and imagine our world anew. We now have the time and the space to reexamine what we want from our lives and to make that intention the reality. Manifest it, as the internet would say. We can choose to leave the smoky skies behind and enter this next stage lighter with little luggage ready to fight for a better, more connected, world.
Rumble launched in August of this year, sign up below to be one of the first to join the social revolution. More info can be found across our social platforms and website, or check them out at their social below.
Written by Karolina Zieba.