The Convivial Society: Dispatch No. 5
A good way to avoid zoom fatique is to reduce live telephony and use more async video meetings. This is an emerging technology. Several startups are now popping up to develop this. You can read a blog here about it: https://timz.flowers/synchronous-vs-asynchronous-video-conferencing/
Good piece very relevant. As an old Australian studying language class via microsoft teams . It is more complicated than it looks
Most people sense that direct, close, face-to-face conversations feel adversarial. My anecdotal evidence suggests that we prefer to talk to friends and family somewhat askew or even side-by-side. Video conferencing has us all facing each other like staring at a wall of mugshots.
Welcome to the world of introverts!
Face-to-face meetings are almost the same for us as we, consciously or subconsciously, expend energy paying attention to all those unconscious communication details that you list. It is not automatic for us
We prefer voice-only or text because we can focus on content (which everyone _says_ they want) rather than all the minutia of visual communication artifacts
@ Mr. Pabari:
The language that the author used is easy to understand and the points he made were so, too. Obviously, not everybody around the world speaks English at the same level, but if authors lowered their level to bullet points of pigeon English for five year olds, that would be far more tiresome.
Whenevert there is a word you do not understand, look it up -- this will enrich your vocabulary. When there is a sentence you do not understand, read it twice or thrice -- this will improve your reading comprehension skills and expression. In other words, by reading more sophisticated texts and 'training' with them, you will learn more than just the topic covered. Learning and improving oneself is always a good thing.
Reading and writing skills have declined so much over the last three decades, because attention spans have been diminished by ads on TV, Internet and mobile devices. When reading books or newspaper articles from the last century, before World War II, one can only regret the poverty and lack of elegance in written communication these days. Compared to the skillful writing back then, today's articles are dumbed down way too much already and if people still do not understand them, it is not the authors' fault.
I agree with almost everything you said, but I think one of the wonders of the human brain is how easily it adapts to different scenarios. Yes, when you start a videocall you can immediately feel the strain for all the causes you stated; still, after some minutes, once the flow of communication is established, our brain "switches" to conversation mode and excludes all the interferences. Some of these might still be too relevant, and would interrupt the flow - e.g. a suddenly drop of connection quality, but without these our brain adapts surprisingly well. Another example of this capability is our use of text communication, typically sms and chats: have you ever seen someone smiling at the phone while typing a message? This wouldn't be needed, as the other recipient won't see our face, but still our brain fakes us into a full-conversation mode, and all our senses are involved.
One point that was made in a recent zoom call is that Zoom allows the use of only two of our 5 senses. We can see and hear each other, but we cannot feel or smell each other. and In the case of a meal there is no taste either. We were created as sensuous beings and all 5 senses need to come into play for there to be a full experience of community
I agree with Andrea, plus the fact our brains need time to adapt and it creates strain.
Do You remember Your first bicycle ride or driving lessons? Just as mastering car or bicycle, mastering videochat takes time.
That is also why it is important to take enough time playing with the tech, in non-threatening, non critical environment.
Our brains are huge neural networks and many people forget they learn just like neural networks - require training, good dataset, pruning, optimizing, reinforcement, and re-training with noise.
Just like driving with few drops of rain on the windshield distracts young driver, while after few months of training one hardly notices such nuances.
Knowing all this just play.
Call yourself from laptop to phone and tinker with all buttons, screen orientation, phone holders, light arrangements and how your body looks like in various positions. Mind how your body language is trimmed and cropped, perhaps your eye movemets just disappear in low frame rate. Use devices like mirrors and plush toys to add the missing drama. Experiment. Play. Then call someone who is good to play with, not afraid to step out of usual social image.
Just like bent mirrors gallery, videoconferencing distorts. Cameras fish-eye view, fluorescent lights create horror-movie effects and slow internet will freeze your face in funny expression wchich will roll as internet meme for next decade if anyone will hit screenshot button. But it takes just a while to get used to it all and make it your second nature, afterall it is digital technology, and it makes it reproductible .
Have fun :)
Thanks so much. I wanted to curl up and go into isolation rather than speak over video when I knew a call with our daughter was coming up. I also couldn't understand why I felt depressed instead of happy after the calls - I'm past the age of using this platform for business so only used it to get in "touch" with close ones and now for our meetings for worship. Now I understand fully the reasons for my sadness and that I'd lost something valuable. One has to learn to adapt, adjust and accept - the alternative is not an option.
I find the article rather wordy especially compared to a similar one on BBC website just now.
Yes, I'm experiencing fatigue from video-meetings but also the extra dimension of having to minute these meetings with typically around 10 participants. I think I'm having to focus much more eg audio breaking up with some participants amongst other things. Typically need around 30 mins break afterwards, or more ... I feel really "wiped out". Any other minute-takers finding this???
I enjoy Zoom experience more than being onsite. I find I get better communications from the organization and better team interactions. As far as it being draining, for me that doesn't seem to be the case. I also end my work day with a ton more energy rather than energy being spent driving to and from work.
in 2012 I wrote an article that pints to some very concrete reasons for the exhaustion: Trapped to Reveal - On webcam mediated communication and collaboration. https://www.jar-online.net/exposition/abstract/trapped-reveal-webcam-mediated-communication-and-collaboration
- there are no details visible on the screen-image, so you have to imagine more and to select what is valuable to you in this imagination,
- you have to continuously scan the screen with your eyes, -
- you have to dissect the monosound source for difference that gives you a clue about who is making what noise ...
...i suppose there's a link to how advanced learning tech has now transformed versus how 'backward' many school and office settings still are - just look at how compact ajd multifunctional smartphones have turned out yet we still sit in class like people several hundreds of years, possibly thousands of years ago; in short, we haven't evolved our minds to effeciently use tech to do work, many people in companies just love to create 'processes' instead of 'progress' (talk about endless meetings, text message in the middoe of the night that could be said in person a few days later, bickering who should do what, etc) ...if people insist on using the same 'old' methods with various electronic equipment, no technology can ever help ease the stress we experience from work, even with relatively simple tasks like attending a meeting
Great points. This conversation was very similar to one I had with my colleagues today. Doing pediatric Palliative Care consults as a pediatric nurse practitioner on zoom or Skype is better than. a phone call but the essence of "holding dpace" for difficult conversations or nonverbal communication of empathy is difficult at best. The very essence of a visit can be lost when not in the same space.
Video conferencing is so draining because the bulk of the time the power point or data being shared is too much.... in video conferencing less is more. Know your content, rehearse it and don’t dive to deep into the weeds
@ Rajesh. Its fatiguing because you are used to reading at a lower level. Kind of like how running one mile is fatiguing to someone who never exercises while, at the same time, running a mile can be very easy to someone who runs regularly.
To the author, I appreciate having to look up words once or twice in a short article. It adds to my learning and broadens my vocabulary.