Editor’s note: Megan Routh is a consulting strategist with research firm Open Mind Strategy, New York. 

Talk to any Millennial a few months ago and they would tell you there is nothing more anxiety provoking than an actual, real-time phone call. But that was in the old world. 

In the solitude of quarantine, a craving for intimacy and stronger personal connections means consumers once notoriously adverse to spontaneous, face-to-face communications, now want to hear each other's voices and see each other's faces more than ever. 

Social isolation and the COVID-19 crisis have totally rewritten our cultural rules of communication. But the frantic ways we’re corresponding now will shift how we connect beyond lockdown.

Celebrities are live-streaming with anyone who asks to join; anonymous Zoom dance parties take place every night. When ordered to stay home, it only took a matter of days for everyone to start broadcasting themselves, mostly to seemingly chaotic and confusing ends. 

While it seems haphazard, each interaction is an expansion of community that chips away at our cultural fear of IRL intimacy and democratizes digital communities.

As more white-collar workers are beginning to wonder not when they’re going to return to the office this year, but why they would ever return to an office at all, big cities are looking at an exodus of knowledge workers, and thus, their cultural capital.

This migration gives brands a mandate to expand their offerings to larger, more diverse groups of consumers as they use digital tools to build new communities across the country. 

Take The Wing, a women’s coworking space based in urban hubs. When forced to close, they quickly pivoted from meeting rooms to Zoom, making the interconnectedness of their community accessible online. 

The filtered, everything-is-perfect image that is the hallmark of influencer and celebrity marketing has ne...