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Why You May Keep Virtually Visiting Even When the Pandemic Is Over

Why You May Keep Virtually Visiting Even When the Pandemic Is Over

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

You’ve probably felt it, the mental shift, a switch that clicks “on” when you’re about to be photographed or filmed. You have a moment of heightened awareness that you are in a frame, and about to be documented. Your body language shifts, your eyes open a bit wider, and you prepare to smile a bit more.

In the space that is video streaming, we are all framed in a picture, on a screen, in real-time. Unlike an in-person conversation where we cannot see ourselves as we speak, in the space of video streaming we are both the subject of the video and the viewer of it as well. How does this alter the conversation from one we would have in person?

WE SPEAK AND THINK IN IMAGES

We live in image-saturated times where everything we do is photographed and often shared to numerous social outlets. Each day we sift through thousands of photos and videos and give them a second (or less) of our consideration.

Over at The Conversation, in the article, “Exposed to a deluge of digital photos we’re feeling the psychological effects of image overload,” young people admit to the pressure of creating so many pictures that they don’t feel they are actually experiencing the moment they try to capture.

Beyond the volume of pictures and videos, there is the immediacy of seeing and editing them that may add to our stress. In “Exposed,” a teacher asked students to use a disposable camera for a class project and the result was that the participants expressed a delight in slowing down the pace. The students spent more time setting up and considering what they photographed, and even enjoyed the delay in waiting for the film to be processed.

THE VIDEO STREAMING YOU ADVANTAGE

Whether the abundance of pictures and social media sharing are a good or bad thing time and exploration will tell. However, the phenomenon of being camera-ready for video streaming has made for an interesting and positive method of communicating during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Check out Three Tips To Prep For Virtual Visiting here.)

David and I have been virtually gathering with friends and family for the past several weeks, and learning about ourselves and others in the process. We began tepidly, but we’ve realized that social distance socializing has its advantages. Here is a short list of the perks.

  • You don’t have to “go” anywhere to be social. I do like to get out but honestly, I also like staying in. In fact, David and I are kind of recluse homebodies. Not having to go somewhere has made us more social!!! Plus, less driving around to locations is good for the environment.
  • Social wrap-up is easy. When you invite or are invited for dinner there may not be a scheduled time when it ends. Scheduling on a platform such as Zoom helps everyone know when the event is coming to a close. This saves for the awkward overstay.
  • Visit with people and family you don’t see often. With tech as our help we live in borderless world. We can reach out to people anywhere. It is truly freeing to think outside of our local box.
  • Use virtual to improve your communication style. Seeing you as you speak can be insightful. Take a moment to note your body language as you listen and how you speak. No need to be hypersensitive or overly critical, but note your habits. Lean in and wait. Smile more.

Time will tell how much we all revert to in-person socializing and working together. But I suspect we’ve all learned the benefits of connecting in the virtual world. It may not be as fun or perfect, but the potential to spend more time connecting with others is there and worth exploring. In the meantime, get ready for your closeup!

It was Drake Relays the week of April 20 through the 26, but of course, in this year of COVID-19, there were no events, including our annual return of David’s college friends infamously known as “The Pagans.” Thanks to the use of virtual video streaming, they managed to gather and be silly together for hours. It turns out they can retell all their favorite stories of youth without being together in person.

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