1 min read


Zoom is exhausting.

When dogs get a bout of crazy energy, it’s the “zoomies.” But in the era of COVID and Zoom-based video chats, the “zoomies” for me feel more like pure, unadulterated exhaustion.

Apparently, I am not alone.

From Digiday:

Zoom isn’t a replacement for real-life interactions. Every verbal tic, every slight eyebrow raise, and every other non-verbal reaction signs are overblown when you’re all gazing into your screen, populated by multiple giant heads.

And from the BBC:

Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says.

And Fast Company:

Unless you’re watching a panel discussion, it’s usually impossible to look at everyone in a group during in-person interactions. Typically, your gaze rests on the one main speaker and then everyone else is in the periphery or even behind you. But thanks to the glories (and more concerning attributes) of Zoom, you can see everyone all at once, along with one person you never usually observe—yourself.

This creates visual overload because when we look at a screen, whether it’s a computer or a TV screen, our minds are accustomed to processing what is in front of us as a unified whole. But a Zoom meeting in gallery view isn’t one unified whole. It’s the equivalent of trying to watch 5, 10, 20, or more different TV shows, side-by-side, meanwhile checking a mirror to see how you look. This is incredibly exhausting.