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July 24, 2020


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It is stressful having to watch the other person and see yourself. With friends, I might opt for video off or tell them you’re going to chill on the couch and chat with them so you don’t have to maintain eye contact that much.

I don't have social anxiety, but jokes are so much harder to make in Zoom comment boxes than they would be in person! Throwaway gags seem to take on more weight than intended just because they're textualized as a single comment that's just as easy to see as any other comment. Wisecracks feel vaguely attention-seeking if you post them to everybody, but private jokes to single users, unless they're already close friends, feel potentially awkward, like it's too intimate for the situation. There are a lot of Zoom meetings I actually like, but they seem to have disadvantages for sure.

(I know that complaint is more for work meetings and Zoom parties than things with just a couple of people, but still!)

I taught jr-high-high school church school class to introverted students via ZOOM for two months, and it was mentally and emotionally exhausting. Because I'm also introverted and had taken six months to feel comfortable with the students in real life, talking to a screen was painful and distracting. My lessons ended up rambling and unsatisfying.

As the summer progressed and I started to wonder if it might happen that way again in the fall, I thought I might have to resign... but then I'd be abandoning the students! This month we heard that the tentative plan is for us to meet in person (distanced) with whatever students are willing, and let someone other than the teacher handle the ZOOM aspect of the class for students who want to tune in. I was so relieved I wept.

I don't have social anxiety, either. But I have enough experience with ZOOM to know that technologically and psychologically it seems to work for some personalities but not for others. I had plenty of it early on to develop an aversion.

I am comforted by your post, to know that I'm not the only one.

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