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Zoom Fatigue: Enervating Ickiness

Most studies are BS, and many are outright fraudulent. And if you read about them in the propaganda orifices (formerly known as “news”), they will ALWAYS be misrepresented. So be careful there, in general.

However, this one is in IEEE*, matches my lived experience and so I’ll accept its findings along with brain-scan proof since it confirms the obvious to anyone actually living life.

* A slight non-zero credibility, vs the disgraced zero-credibility JAMA and Lancet and BMJ. BTW, BMJ is easily remembered as (intellectual) “Bowel Movement Jockeying”.

Zoom Fatigue is Real, According to Brain Scans

2023-11-21

Since the pandemic began in 2020, Zoom video teleconferences have become a new normal for many people’s working life. Now a study finds that these virtual meetings exhaust the brain more than face-to-face communication.

“The personal implications of Zoom fatigue extend far beyond mere tiredness,” says study co–senior author René Riedl, an information systems researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Steyr and Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria. “Individuals grapple with increased stress levels, a reduction in productivity, and a pervasive sense of disconnection.”
[WIND: witness poor lubin' Jeffrey Toobin enjoying his TDS “privately” ! But who can blame him?]

In addition, “On a broader social scale, the consequences materialize as a potential deterioration in the quality of communication and collaboration, impacting both professional and personal relationships,” says study co–senior author Gernot Müller-Putz, a biomedical engineer at Graz University of Technology, in Austria. “The absence of nuanced nonverbal cues in virtual interactions inhibits the richness of communication, making it challenging for participants to fully engage and connect in a meaningful way.”

... We found that after 50 minutes of videoconferencing, significant changes in physiological and subjective fatigue could be observed.

...

WIND: maybe zooming isn’t so bad: it only takes 5 seconds with some people in person. Conversely, face-to-face can be energy generating. At least with the right person.

DUH! Did we really need a study for this? Yes, because children and idiots need studies to be forced to see what is obvious, and without such studies, the workplace misuses and abuses will continue. Such studies are ammunition for improving one’s work environment. My kids in college are forced to endure up to 3 hours long (!!!) of shitty boring zoom classes where even the best teacher sucks, setting aside the dreck of the occasional social justice commando nut-job.

Video conferencing is too-often a destructive and degraded form of communication. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Yes, 'zooming' has its plusses for some purposes (why do I have to bother saying that?). But most of the time it is a tool of abuse that Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss would have relished. The problem is that very few people have the judgment to realize that audio only (phone call) is often better. Not unlike the bad judgment of using bold and shadow and outline fonts when the Mac first came out—when plain text was much more readable.

And of course there is the privacy issue: why should I have to share my personal space. particularly in a work/professional relationship? That might be fine for doctors, etc, but I loathe it—both ways—I don’t want to see or be aware of other people’s weird shit or political flags etc any more than I’d want it at the office. Or, maybe I don’t feel like wearing a shirt because it’s 95°F !

From the first time I used Zoom*, the lack of eye contact and non-verbal cues were hyper irritating to me, as well as looking up the noses of the Clueless who have no idea how to position a camera or light anything properly. And having to stare at a small screen also is terrible ergonomically sure to result in injury over time. All while demanding cognitive resources.

In a video call, boring people are extra boring, and interesting people are distant and no longer very interesting. Corporate types... yes it can get worse. Voice quality with echoes and speakerphones is often terrible, degrading the one reliable source of non-verbal cues (yes, it’s 80% stuff and 20% words). All so you can see a shitty tiny talking head in a little square box.

Maybe OnlyFans users are more satisfied? Like I said, there are appropriate uses.

A phone call (audio only) allows greater mental concentration and lower cognitive load. I can, for example, close my eyes in order to listen more attentively. I once had a doctor who did that in person when responding to a question. Yes, it’s a thing, for some. I cannot attend properly to what is being said on a zoom call—the cognitive load is too high albeit on a level that’s not conscious. I expect that’s true of most people.

Think that’s not a real thing? Eight weeks after a brain injury, I once rode 100+ miles of a double century closing my eyes on every uphill 3-4 seconds at a time, because my brain could not handle the visual input after having been fried by descending 2000 vertical feet on shadowed gator-skin pavement with potholes. This worked miracles, and I finished just fine. The brain uses HUGE amounts of glucose and energy for visual processing. It is extra hard computing for the brain to stare at a talking head on a screen vs in person.

Good luck with those techno-freak headsets that Apple and Meta are producing—a godawful invention with superb applications—speciality stuff—and piling-on the mental illness for most eg increasing escape from reality. I hope to never have to use them for any reason whatsoever. The real world is so much better, if you know how to live it.

* Luckily, I might one of the most video-conferencing-minimizers alive today. Since 2020, I’ve used it twice, or perhaps 3 times. Well, maybe 4, I don’t remember. I despise it so much that I use it only when the other person requires it for some reason.

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