Zoom gloom - Deepstash

Zoom gloom

  • A typical video call demands more intense focus on the words, as most other body language cues are missing. If somebody is really dependent on those non-verbal cues, it can be very draining not to have them.
  • Multi-person screens magnify this exhausting problem, as it challenges the brain’s central vision, forcing it to decode too many people at once.
  • If you view a single speaker at a time, you can’t recognize how non-active participants are behaving - something you otherwise would pick up with a peripheral vision.

  • For some people, the prolonged split in attention can overwhelm the brain by unfamiliar excess stimuli while being hyper-focused on searching for non-verbal cues that it can’t find.

A traditional phone call may be less taxing on the brain because it delivers on a promise to convey only a voice.

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MORE IDEAS FROM ‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here's why that happens.

Once people learn to navigate the mental overload video chatting can cause, Zoom fatigue can be reduced.

  • If you're feeling over-stimulated, turn off your camera. Save your energy for when you want to perceive the few non-verbal cues available.
  • If the meeting can be done by phone, try walking at the same time.

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For those who have neurological difficulty with in-person communication, such as those with autism, the shift to video calls has been positive.

Video calls lead to fewer people talking and less filler conversation, which relieves tension and anxiety felt by autistic individuals.

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Zoom fatigue

2020 has thrust people into a regular virtual space.

This unofficial social experiment confirms that virtual interactions can take its toll on the brain, commonly known as Zoom fatigue. This exhaustion also applies to Google Hangout, Skype, FaceTime, or any other video-calling interface.

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Why Zoom Calls Drain Us
  • Video calls require more focus than face-to-face chatting. We have to pay more attention to process the non-verbal cues like tone, pitch, body language and facial expressions. There is also a feeling of dissonance when the minds are together but the bodies are physically apart.
  • One finds it harder to relax in a conversation, as even a slight delay (silence) makes us feel that the other person is not friendly or focused enough. 

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Communication in the virtual world

Bonding with colleagues in the real world is easy. It the virtual world, the tools we have available are video conferences, group messages, and email - all cold forms of communication.

Despite the challenges associated with online tool, there are simple rules we can use the make colleagues and clients like us.

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Digital Mirrors

As more and more interaction goes online due to work being increasingly remote, we find that we are staring at our digital selves on the laptop or smartphone screen more often than usual. Social scientists are looking at the long-term effects of being connected via screens in our homes, isolated from real people.

If we like ourselves, we would find pleasure in being on video calls, but if we are self-critical, the same negative feelings would be amplified. The screens act like digital mirrors, showing us more of what we believe in.

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