Ready for a few recent thoughts arising from all of our teleconferencing (trademark?)?

(By the way, I’m wondering if that “?)?” is a first in the English language.) (Along with opening a writing in a parenthetical mark.)

To the point: After all of this time Zooming, specifically, I’ve finally found a visual background that works for me, almost a stage setting.

In our new old house, my workstation is in what’s also my bedroom rather than somewhere up in an attic. In common with many New England homes, there’s no closet, so when the laptop’s camera is in its usual, sharp focus, my hanging clothes are in full view.

How embarrassing. Or candid. At least I’m not naked, in all my senior-citizen glory.

I’ve played with several photographic backgrounds as alternatives, but they do use up valuable bandwidth, sometimes even interfering with the signal or pixilating my face, and they get wonky if I so much as twitch.

Moving myself and the said laptop to another room gets complicated, especially when I need to reach for a book or paper (back in the earlier room) for reference. New lighting conditions are an additional consideration.

Do we all need a stage manager or producer or even a dramaturge working on our behalf, much less sound engineers? I hope not!

So the solution, where low-tech me is? Voila! Or amazement. I chanced upon the “blurred background” option on the Zoom toolbar and like it. In fact, it can even look dramatic, keeping the focus on (drumroll, please) me. Maybe I’ll keep it.

~*~

As long as we’re on the subject of Zoom, does anyone else find conversation or dialogue unnatural and awkward? There’s hesitation when we’d simply join in and then jump out contrasting to talking over each other because we have no eye contact or other non-verbal cues regarding each other. There are times I’m sure I come off cold simply because I’m stepping back to listen yet other times I no doubt seem rude piping up the same moment others do, like drivers all trying to enter an intersection at the same moment.

By the way, I do think our faces are appearing in a less harsh light than we did earlier in this transition.

For a while, it seemed we were all at less ten years older, children excluded. We looked ghastly.

~*~

I’m also discovering there are many people I recognize more by the sound of their voice than by their faces. Maybe it’s a consequence of joining a new community in the age of Covid, but there is a world of difference between individuals unmasked on my computer screen and masked (or not) somewhere out in public, often miles out of context.

How has your Zooming changed? Any advice to share? Or off-the-wall particulars?

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