Hey, there. I’m Kayla.
I’d shake your hand, but that would mean breaking the rules of social distancing in this weird, new world we’re living in. But it’s nice to meet you, anyway.
Handshakes aren’t the only thing that’s been eliminated as a result of COVID-19. Employees have been laid off. Small businesses are struggling to make ends meet. Events we looked forward to all year have been put on hold or cancelled altogether.
But amid all of this panic, craziness and uncertainty, one thing has not been put on hold: the desire for human connection. Through FaceTime calls, Zoom happy hours and Instagram livestreams, we’re doing everything we can to stay connected. Because connection is what makes us human.
On the day I graduated college almost a year ago, fliers with pictures of all of the graduates, their future plans and their favorite parts of working for the college media organization lined the halls outside of my college newsroom. I remember exactly what I wrote my favorite part was: getting to know the student community and telling their stories.
Connecting with others has not only been an important part of what makes me feel whole as a human, but also what makes me feel whole in my career. I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Los Angeles right after graduating college and started a job as a local reporter for a community newspaper. I connected with community members and leaders and got to tell their stories. As a passion project, I also started a podcast with one of my friends about moving to Charlotte and highlighting the inspiring women making moves in the Queen City, in the hopes of providing some connectivity for the many 20-somethings who move to Charlotte, like we did.
And connection is what led me to this job: social media storytelling at Brave New Word. As a news reporter, I developed an interest and talent for telling stories through social media and wanted to see if it could lead to a future career. I connected with Mary at a networking event, and she was kind enough to give me an opportunity.
Sometimes, social media gets a bad rap. But with intentional, substantive content, it can be a positive place to connect and tell stories, especially in our “new normal”.
So, while I may not be able to shake your hand, please know that I’m so excited to connect with you and tell your story.