Video Conferencing Thoughts

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Obviously, we have all been using video conferencing way more than usual. I have some thoughts on it, of course.

Video conferencing is harder than meetings

It’s way more exhausting than talking with people. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off the screen. In meetings, I can look away and not feel guilty. Now, it seems like there are a dozen eyes on me all the time. It is making me anxious in every meeting.

I have spoken with other people who feel the same effect. Meetings on zoom are more mentally taxing than meetings in person.

Audio interactions are hard

Audio is arguably the most important part of video conferencing. We are trying to speak with each other. However, audio on video conferencing is challenging at best. You can’t hear people interrupting the way you would normally. Interruptions are often critical. You can’t have conversations without them.

Imagine someone says, “Due to the sky being green, I have developed an 18 point plan for our project. Step 1….” At this point, you need to interrupt. You don’t want them to go on forever if there is a core flaw. This is actually pretty difficult in zoom. It makes meetings longer and more confusing.

Additionally, there is a delay on sound via zoom. It makes interactions more weird. Reactions are not timed as they normally would. All in all, it is making conversations fall into the uncanny valley.

People should turn their video on

When people don’t show their video, I find it rude. We are all trapped in our homes, trying to work. It’s already hard enough. And then people don’t even show their video? You don’t hide your face in meetings in person, why should you do it in video conference?

People usually have one of a few reasons for this.

  1. It’s messy in their environment
  2. They are not presentable
  3. They are shy
  4. They have slow internet and video makes it worse

1-3 are all bad reasons. All video tools have virtual backgrounds. Additionally, you should be presentable. We should all be wearing pants! This is work, not playtime. The 4th reason is real for some people. ISPs have to step up in this critical time and bump up people’s bandwidth. Otherwise, turn your video on!

Blur and virtual backgrounds are not quite there

I love the idea and want to use it more. I downloaded a bunch of video backgrounds. The problem is that I don’t have a green screen. Look at the little jagged edges near my ears. If I move around it gets worse.

Everything is fine!

If I had a green screen, I imagine it would be perfect. It’s close, but it’s just not quite there. Zoom doesn’t have “blur background”. It’s a good option and I wish they would add it in.

This is a chance for people to become creative though. I appreciate that.

People need to point the camera at their face

I can’t tell you how many times I tell people, the whole bottom of your head is cut off. It’s not a big thing, but it’s weird. It’s almost like they were halfway sitting under the table in a conference room meeting.

People are making more meetings

My calendar looks like this most weeks now.

Lots and lots of short video meetings

This is pretty difficult. It’s especially hard on Makers. I don’t know if this is the new normal or we will figure out ways to make it better. Who knows when we will get back to the office? Maybe we never will.

Anyway, I have to start my day of video conferencing. Enjoy!

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