I’ve participated in four Zoom gatherings in two days and been trained on a webinar.
This is exhausting.
Seth Godin has a useful framing of the move online with our work. He thinks it’s an opportunity to work differently; trying to replicate what we normally do using video calling tools is ineffective. Because it’s not the same medium, so the rules are different and the effect on participants is different.
Last night we did youth group over Zoom–15 high school students, two staff, and leaders on a video call for an hour. I did my best to keep it organized, and I think it mostly worked. It was pure joy to see our students and hear them talk about the things they’re doing to endure. But when it was done I felt keenly what this forced separation is taking from us, and that is the moments of deep breath and relaxation in the company of friends. Even when it’s your job, even when you’re in charge, those moments are energizing–they’re a kind of fuel to get through the agenda.
You just don’t have that on a screen. Instead it’s mostly tension. Your eyes and neck and shoulders are straining most of the time. Somebody’s audio cut out. Your audio cut out. Some participants couldn’t be seen at all.
I’ve heard someone suggest that, when this is all over, we may discover that these remote tools are superior to our conventional way of working in-person, in a church building. It’s early days yet, but that seems very unlikely to me.