I’m not a big social media user in my own time, nor am I very good at staying in touch with people from my past.

However, during the lockdown I’ve made some fascinating and heart-warming discoveries.

The first came when I was browsing Amazon for a book recommendation.

In the ‘We think you will also enjoy’ panel I saw a name that caught my eye.

It was a former journalist colleague from my days in Nottingham and I could hardly believe what I was reading.

Not only has she written six novels, one a Sunday Times best seller, she has just signed a deal to deliver another three books for HarperCollins.

After I dropped a note to her publishers one evening, she made contact the next day leading to a flurry of emails full of reminiscences and lots of catching up.

I was the deputy editor of the newspaper she had previously worked at and she told me that it was a feature idea we had hatched between us that had been the catalyst for her changing careers.

It really made my day!

Then, the following day, someone sent me a message on Facebook, which I use for business.

It was a guy I used to be in a band with (yes, a band… that’s another story).

We got chatting and I happened to notice than one of his friends was a lady who used to be our backing singer. She has since become a significant recording artist having appeared on tracks with superstar DJs such as Paul Oakenfold and Frankie Knuckles.

And then, a LinkedIn message dropped in from a former trainee reporter from a different newspaper who wanted to catch up.

She is now a high-flying Director of a major London lobbying company whose normal place of work is Westminster and Whitehall.

And, finally, I heard from a business acquaintance in New Zealand who it turns out had been diagnosed with cancer but is now in remission.

Although the Coronavirus outbreak is making life tough and, at times miserable, I really don’t think I would have made these amazing, up-lifting discoveries if I hadn’t have been in lockdown.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had any familiar experiences.

Marc Astley

CEO, Astley Media