Since I've been self-employed at home for the past decade, I am quite used to the concept of spending many hours alone at my desk. However, I "get out" quite a bit, thanks to Zoom (and the occasional Google Hangout or Facebook Live). Pretty much all my social outlets -- not just the SCA, but also my church, my professional organizations, and my Toastmasters club -- have moved online. I can "go out" in the evening and not worry about driving in the rain or catching the Metro train home.
If Virtual Atlantia had seams, it would be exploding at them. Check out the Activity Calendar for starters. Is that calendar packed or what? Not all the activities shown there are from Atlantia -- a few are from other Kingdoms. And some baronies don't always put their own activities in the Kingdom's calendar, so there are even more online goings-on than Virtual Atlantia would have you know.
Plus, so many online classes! Early in the pandemic I took several classes at an online university in the Kingdom of Atenveldt, mundanely Arizona. In our Kingdom we had two virtual University of Atlantia sessions, one in June and one in September. At the former, I taught a "Medieval Lithuania" class via Zoom -- and I had attendees from six Kingdoms! Two from as far away as Lochac (Australia)! In September I didn't teach anything, but I learned that my June effort had earned me a "Masters of SCA Studies" degree from the University. (Totally unaccredited from a mundane standpoint, but still a nice feather in my cap for all the work I've put in since 2004.)
Thanks to Zoom, I also had the chance to attend some classes at the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium (KWHSS). This was only the second KWHSS I've been able to attend -- the first was the one that took place in Atlantia's Barony of Sacred Stone in 2011. For me, KWHSS involves expensive travel and hotel arrangements. This year the symposium would have been in Lochac, specifically the Barony of Stormhold, and there was no way I could have afforded that kind of trip. But thanks to the Web, I could even hear the voice of a Stormhold friend, Mistress ffride, with whom I've been corresponding for years.
Their Majesties have been recording nearly weekly messages to the Atlantian populace, and they have also started holding virtual courts to hand out actual awards. This past weekend, They traveled all the way up here to Storvik. Our barony rented a tiny live-theater space in downtown Silver Spring, and the only people permitted to attend Their Majesties and Their Excellencies in person were the herald (Duke Ragnarr) and a couple of tech-crew members. Two poignant moments took place. One was the tribute that Baron Celric and Baroness Ilania paid to the late Baron Rorik, in the presence of Rorik's faithful companion, Fred the goose.
In the other poignant moment, Their Majesties called Duke Ragnarr in front of them to present him with his long-delayed Award of Arms (AoA) scroll from way back when, before he was a Knight or a King or a Duke. Their Majesties pointed out that Ragnarr was always more concerned about other people getting their AoA scrolls than getting his own. What made this moment especially poignant was that the Royals who awarded him his Arms in 1993, Kane and Muirgen, were killed in a car accident a few years later.
These virtual courts are the only ones we're likely to see for a while still. Official SCA events in North America are banned through the end of January 2021, as the pandemic continues to rage. We didn't have Pennsic this year. Atlantia is not having War of the Wings this week.
This is the "New Normal," as opposed to the "Before Times" (I am not the only person using this terminology).
Some people don't like participating in online SCA classes and courts. I get that. I have a Toastmasters friend who spends so much time in videoconferences while working from home that she just cannot bear to sit through another 90 minutes of a club meeting in the evening. That's understandable.
I'm just glad that we Atlantians have some sort of online presence for those people who say, "Hey, I was thinking of getting involved in the SCA once the pandemic is over," or who are curious, or who are super-interested in online learning. We may even try some court video recording after the pandemic, so that people who have a hard time joining us in person because of health issues can still see what's going on. It may seem odd at first, but no more so than internet communications seemed to SCAdians of 20 or 25 years ago.