I am zoomed out
At the advent of Covid-19, social distancing protocols, some as prohibitive to a point of attracting hefty fines, placed a strong
chokehold on in-person contact. And then Zoom happened.
Can you see me?
Please mute your audio.
This became the lingo in our day to day interactions.
Let me paint you a picture. After COVID-19 broke, the video conferencing platform grew in leaps and bounds, reportedly
registering over 300 million daily participants in Zoom meetings, precipitating the skyrocketing of its stock price from $60 to
nearly $570 a share in October 2020.
But now, unfortunately, the very thing that filled the gaping loneliness of the pandemic has become the bane of my
Do not get me wrong. I appreciate the role Zoom played, especially in remote work, a practice which companies viewed with
scepticism pre-pandemic. But now, home time and office time have become indistinguishable. Moreover, schooling online
isn't as fun as earlier imagined.
A study published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior by Stanford Professor Jeremy Bailenson, identified four
factors of prolonged video chats that contribute to "Zoom fatigue", Zoom being synonymous with all video conferencing
platforms. The first reason attributed to Zoom fatigue is intense and close eye contact. Ordinarily, people will look at the
speaker or elsewhere. But with Zoom, the focus is on the faces on the screen, even when one is not a speaker.
Another pain point is constantly having to look at one's face. Studies have shown that when one sees their own reflection
persistently, they become more critical of themselves. Thirdly, Zoom has become tiresome considering one’s mobility is
hampered whenever they sit still for an extended period of time. And finally, the inability to pick up non-verbal cues while on
Zoom makes virtual conversations less enticing.
For these and other reasons, I and others like me are Zooming out.