It’s a good job the coronavirus did not occur twenty or even ten years ago. Just image the difficulty of keeping in touch with each other. Yes, we had a telephone; most homes had a landline and many people had mobiles but not like the number today. And of course the Royal Mail had a reliable postal service. I don’t know if the telegram service still operated had it been necessary to contact someone in an emergency.
Today it’s different. How times have changed. Technology has come to our rescue. Virtually everyone has a mobile phone and a large majority a home computer with an internet connection. This latter aspect is the main reason that today, although being physically isolated, we can keep in contact, verbally with a phone, in written form with the immediacy of emails and visually with the latest wiz bang thing the use of WhatsApp on our mobile phone or Zoom or Microsoft’s Meet type of technology. As the BBC often says when a brand name is mentioned that other products are also available.
It’s a sign of embracing today’s times but the use of technology is how the members of the Probus Club of Basingstoke keep in touch both individually and in groups. Today every member has some sort of computer type device that has an internet connection so the use of sending out group emails is common practice. But Probus is a social organisation and the usual business style meetings, the many social gatherings and trips are missed during this lockdown period of our lives. It was considered that it was essential that some form of regular contact was necessary.
A clever design of a phone contact system was devised which meant that each member of the committee had a rotating nominated list of members to call each week. The plan is working excellently so far and it is hoped that by the early part of July each committee member would have spoken to every member.
On a communal basis the use of Zoom has been so successful that rather than the freely available forty minutes transmission time it was soon decided to buy a year’s subscription which means the system is available for any amount of time over the next 12 months. What made this an easy decision was the ability to conduct the formal committee meetings following the agenda just as though the meeting took place around a table. The members have been involved with general meetings via Zoom and also with a quiz afternoon with several spouses helping the men in their lives achieve enhanced results. More such quizzes are planned. Investigations are being followed of using this technology to provide a speaker to replace the ones that are booked at our monthly lunch meetings.
Probus Club members may be retired and perhaps some have the occasional physical problem but to a man they are bright eyed and bushy tailed. They have all risen magnificently during these unprecedented times to prove they can assimilate new things. They are certainly not technophobes.