After the two years we’ve all been through, you might think that relationships should no longer be taken for granted, right? It might be that living and working through a pandemic and everything related to that would elevate the importance of those connections.

Even now, though, I just read a compelling report from Sprout Social. It said that surveys show people feel more divided than united. Sprout Social reveals that four out of five consumers believe society is more divided today than ever before. Asked what factors contribute to society’s fracturing, 72 percent point fingers at government and political leaders.

But despite the negativity, people remain hopeful. Consumers do understand their desire for greater connection. They look to friends, colleagues, where they work, the doctors they see, the organizations they follow and interact with to help with all of that.

That’s why, too, it seems that adding into the mix now needs to be a recognition that “digital” can be a part of repairing connections, sharing information and reestablishing trust are emerging as key factors in this next normal period that we enter in 2022.

And, it’s why behind things like a few of the special reports and features we examine this month in Vision Monday that revisiting how we define and achieve “connection” is critical.

You might see it in the ways that many optometrists are looking to practice to a wider professional scope and feature specialization as a path toward differentiating their practices. Digital technology and newly designed solutions are a big part of this.

It might be what’s behind new initiatives to make sure that modern frame design is conscious of special fitting needs of different faces, people, individuals. Sizing—and the expertise of knowledgeable options to recommend what works best—is garnering more attention from frame companies. New digital technologies and craftsmanship is behind this new awareness of “fit.”

Finally, it’s what’s behind a major readjustment in attitudes and acceptance of the role that e-commerce can play from optical professionals and retailers—as digital technology continues to speed toward an omnichannel or brick-and-click dimension to ophthalmic experts and physical stores.

One of Sprout Social’s insights: “Connection is the new currency.” I agree. Revisiting how we and customers and patients and colleagues are thinking differently about connections are crucial to adjusting to the new dynamic we’re all working in.