When someone mentioned Zoom, I thought of an iced -lolly from the early ’80s. Several contacts have asked me whether I shall be interviewing people via Zoom or Skype or FaceTime?
My automatic reply is always the same. I have no wish to use video conferencing platforms if I can help it. I don’t particularly need to see an image of a person in their pyjamas or with pets and kids moving around in the background, whilst trying to decipher the audio through a broken wifi signal.
I’ve met around 5000 of my contacts in person, so unless you’re new to me, I’ll know what you look like. Bedsides, phone calls are quite adequate. I’ve spent almost 20 years discussing careers on the phone before meetings and the meetings really only confirm my initial thoughts from the phone calls.
The new phrase ‘Social-Distancing’ will be around for some time to come, as we face a period of distancing to protect each other from “The Chinese virus”, as quoted by President Donald Trump. Will this mean that we shall be viewing each other on screens forever? We were heading this way before the virus attacked the planet, with people being obsessed with everyone else’s lives. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are popular platforms for wasting your life and not making memories of your own, instead, people are watching someone else boast about their new car, holiday, new watch, house, or model partner. There will be less of this boasting I hope, as toxic envy and jealousy are caused by these platforms, and many are responsible for relationship breakdowns, suicide and unnecessary pressures to keep up with others.
Isolation means that these platforms will thrive, but the content will be far less exotic, being confined to your own home for the time being at least.
Will video conference-style behaviour re-shape our content appetite? Will videos become less popular with the idea that you peer into someone else’s life in a Big-Brother style or Gogglebox perspective? Will it be usual to invite someone for a Zoom catch-up or simply call them via Videolink as you would a telephone?
Why hasn’t video calling really caught on? It’s been around for a long time. I remember being shown a system way back in 1993.
While we are all separated for a while, do you feel disconnected or more connected? Are you achieving more? Some home-workers are boasting that their productivity levels have increased dramatically and feel much happier working from home. Others, feel cut-off, fed-up and in a trance.
Whatever your feelings, I think that communication of any kind in any form is very important to maintaining psychological balance.
I’ve been self-employed for almost 18 years, largely working from home and travelling the UK for meetings. Knowing that I have to self-isolate in my car for an important call because the dogs are going mad, is quite normal.
Humans like interaction, more so now than ever before. I have a number of country walks nearby and you can bet your bottom dollar that if by chance someone else is on the same path in the middle of nowhere, they want to talk, instead of silence or a groan.
Maybe Zoom isn’t so bad after all. At least you’re in control of who you have to engage with!
Take care everyone, keep safe and try to remain calm. It’s a tough time for us all. I have no income or support from The Government. Two income streams lost overnight. Let’s hope for a speedy return, but be thankful for good health, which is everything.