Day 13: The Loneliness of the Zoom Equation

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One person in the room is still one only person. Even if they are watching others on Zoom or MS Teams, or watching Youtube videos of Ted Talks, SNL or James Cordon. It still only equals one. We are a lonely world these days. Many of us are disconnected from our fuel.

Why is Using Zoom Fatiguing and Lonely?

  1. Zoom meetings don’t allow eye to eye contact or interaction due to camera location. I might be looking right at the speaker’s eyes, on my screen. But they think I am staring off to the side because my camera is not in the center of my screen where her eyeballs are.
  2. Something imperceptive but crucially important is missing in Zoom 1:1 calls. The reactions, microseconds long, between speaker and me, that let me know I am here are imperceptible or missing altogether. I feel unacknowledged and invisible. I would rather be on the telephone (with audio only), tuning in to voice inflections than deal with eyeballs not looking at the right place.
  3. During meetings with multiple people, the speaker talks at us, gesturing and laughing and asking questions. And yet- they are not interacting with us. They are speaking at a screen of faces. And the other faces may be friends, but we cannot interact for the same eyeball/camera conflicts (and also due to the self-muting manners we all adopt in meetings).
  4. The lack of the micro-recognitions is fatiguing because my brain is not just disquieted, it is frantically searching, with no reward. It is searching for recognition, like a tuner on the stereo searching for a radio station. After a while, the static (lack of recognition) becomes annoying and we give up the search (accepting that we are in the Idaho of personal relationships).
  5. The emptiness of Zoom dis-satisfaction creates a hole in my heart that I want to fill with cookies, books on Amazon, too many Christmas gifts, special white cheddar cheese from Wisconsin, yet another cranberry sauce recipe, alcohol…

Some Options For the Worldwide Gap in Connection (For extroverts and Introverts!)

  1. Read a paperback book that speaks to you, that you can really relate to.
  2. Watch a movie about relationships and connections.
  3. Use your own art to express your feelings and connect to others (blog, podcast, photoshoot, paint, etc.)
  4. Chris Mann has done a phenomenal job of creating his own pandemic musical experiences here. Watching them helps me feel connected to the pain others are feeling. And I laugh a lot at his creative genius.
  5. Shut off the disconnecting camera and focus on the voices. We have decades of experience listening to tone and inflection for connection clues.
  6. Re-frame the disconnecting space. It isn’t just you. It is the entire world, trying to relate without benefit of facial connecting movements. It is a world-wide phenomenon, not one person, but 7.8 billion people sharing this empty space together.
  7. Re-name the gaping space. It is not a gaping hole to be filled with online purchases. It is fertile ground, space for new authentic living. It is innovation potential.
  8. Choose to voice the collective frustration, the shared soul experience of this pandemic experience.

You got this! We aren’t finished. We aren’t alone. Good stuff is around the corner.


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