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Looking at yourself (virtually) more than ever?

Two months ago had you asked me what Zoom was, I would have looked at you strangely. 

When I was invited to do a Instagram Live around the same time, I had to ask my other half what that even meant - “Ohhh, is that what those little black circles mean.”

Since March I have partaken in numerous Zoom meetings, for personal and work related purposes. I have even just completed my first Instagram Live chat.

These times of physical (not social) distancing and remote working conditions, have forced us to seek out new ways of connecting. Ways that some of us wouldn’t have dreamt of!

One thing that has come with this however, is a whole new level of self-awareness, which at a time like this, under these strange circumstances, can actually become a bit tiring.

When I mention self awareness I am referring to the ability to observe and reflect on our own thoughts - to introspect.

So as we all head online for our Zoom meetings, FaceTime chats, or IG Lives, we may be noticing that we are spending considerably more time looking at ourselves. But viewing ourselves through the lens of the computer camera, or through that of our mobile phones, offers us only a little square of ourselves to identify with (I quite like the ‘Brady Bunch Box’ analogy). Consequently, we may be becoming aware of ourselves as more of a social object (the core of the objective self- awareness theory).

Being constantly confronted with our digital faces in front of our actual faces is not our usual way of interacting. Sure we did it sporadically pre-pandemic, but now we are almost relying on it.

Seeing ourselves in this way online, may be revealing things about ourselves that we might not have been previously aware of. These could be particular traits, or mannerisms. Or as someone pointed out to me, a mixed Aussie and British accent. Therefore, we may find ourselves paying more attention to our own behaviour, judging and evaluating ourselves more critically, and feeling the need to go to extra lengths when it comes to our presentation (impression management). We may even feel more exposed, especially given the fact that we are letting people (sometime considered strangers) into our home environments.

This is all additional information that we are having to process, so it can become extra tiring and draining.

Think about what happens during a face to face interaction (remember those?!). Firstly, you wouldn’t be looking at yourself. Furthermore, you would be in a position to pick up on the social cues of the group and adjust yours accordingly - who is looking where, what does their body language indicate, what does their clothing say? - Your range of social cues isn’t as limited.

I am not saying self awareness isn’t good. It is actually really useful! But in these strange, stressful times, when we are in a situation where we are finding ourselves interacting in ways we wouldn’t normally, our heightened levels may just explain why we feel drained after just a 15 minute Zoom meeting. 

Please get in touch or leave me a comment. Let me know about your experiences with digital technologies to remain connected. Are you experiencing Zoom fatigue? Or, have you learnt something interesting about yourself.

Thanks for reading.

Emma xx

This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions contained on this site are my own. I am not affiliated with any brands, products, or organisations mentioned, and do not receive any sponsorship, payment, or other compensation for any of the content on this site.

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