Zoom Fatigue Is Real, Marcotte Is Trivial
Zoom Fatigue Is Real, Marcotte Is Trivial
There are a ton of people right now that are wishing that at the beginning of 2020, they had invested in online meeting platforms like Zoom. With workspaces closed, schools shut down, doctor’s offices restricted, and social life ground to a halt, platforms like Zoom, TheraPlatform, and Microsoft Teams have all surged in usage at an enormous rate.
Zoom has become the most ubiquitous of the plaforms, becoming both a noun and a verb in the manner of “Google” within a matter of weeks. However, this wasn’t without its issues, as security flaws in the platform were quickly discovered and exploited – especially in the form of “Zoombombing” (crashing random meetings for kicks, often with explicit material). As a result, many organizations, especially schools, began upgrading their meetings to be password-protected, while Zoom itself hustled out fixes for the security loopholes.
Naturally, with such extensive usage of a single platform, and becoming one of the only ways to have a somewhat technologically-assisted face-to-face meeting with large groups, Zoom fatigue has become a very real thing. I know that I suffer from it, especially as I manage my children’s online school learning via Zoom. Let’s just talk about a typical Monday for me. My three older children log in for class at 9 am – all on Zoom – for large class meetings with teachers.
My youngest, who is in first grade, logs in at 10 am for his class meeting – one that I must participate fully in, as it is a special education setting. My middle schooler moves from one meeting to the next, in order to get from 1st period to 2nd period. By the time assignments are handed out and meetings are over, it is lunchtime. And then my youngest will have an hour-and-a-half long behavioral therapy session via Zoom in the afternoon, which right now is mostly in the form of “parent coaching” – meaning that it is mostly MY meeting, even though he is present and the focus of said meeting. And that was just Monday. During other days of the week, my children meet with paraeducators for educational support, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and attend meetings for music and P.E. and library time – all over Zoom. My presence is required at many of those meetings, due to school district policy that requires a parent to be present for one-on-one Zoom meetings. My current schedule now holds 28 different Zoom meetings for three children over the course of one week. And that doesn’t even cover my high schooler’s Zoom schedule, because she handles all her own meetings.
I fully admit that my case is extreme, since I am actively managing three special education students within my own home. But many people are suffering from Zoom fatigue, not just parents. Companies that have been able to continue to operate remotely via online platforms have now given their employees a peek into their co-workers’ lives, and not all of it is great. Our social lives are often being reduced to a screen, with book clubs and “happy hours” now occuring over Zoom.
Enter Amanda Marcotte. She is experiencing Zoom fatigue, but it isn’t work-based or family-based. Nope, she’s just so popular that she can barely get a moment’s peace away from Zoom.
On one hand, I feel incredibly fortunate to have a lot of friends, and therefore lots of opportunities to stay social via online chats and Zoom parties. On the other hand, I’m starting to wonder when I’m actually going to get to enjoy this solitude we’ve all been promised would be our daily companion during the pandemic.”
I confess that when I looked at my calendar for Memorial Day weekend and saw that I had nothing social scheduled all day on Saturday, I breathed a small sigh of relief. I had a whole day to myself — no online games, no post-dinner drinks, nothing. I can sit and read a book if I want to. I can take a long bike ride. I can goof off in my garden with my cat. I can be alone with my thoughts. I can catch up on podcasts. I can finally finish a video game, something I thought I’d spend most of this quarantine doing and have barely done at all.”
I swear, I’ve been more social in the past couple of months than I have been in years. I’ve been reaching out to friends far away and doing Zoom chats with them. Role-playing games, already a robust hobby I share with my partner, have become all-consuming as bored friends want to start more of them all the time. (I’m currently playing in five or six separate campaigns, twice what I had going on before the pandemic.) I want to stay in touch with people, if only to reassure myself that they’re doing OK in a time when none of us is really doing all that OK.”
I’ll be honest – this is hardly the most egregious thing that Amanda Marcotte has ever committed to a column. But it is just so typical of her usual self-centered naval gazing that she can take a legitimate concern – Zoom fatigue and the ability to step away from a screen, even if that screen is one of the only connections to the world outside – and make it all about MEEEEEEEEEEEE. This isn’t so much a column about Zoom fatigue as it is a humblebrag about Amanda Marcotte’s popularity among her own friends.
Fine. Marcotte is welcome to her active Zoom life and her humblebrags and whatever. The rest of us in the real world, who are concerned about paychecks and kids regressing and food scarcity, can afford a fleeting moment of pity that Amanda Marcotte, who still has a job, isn’t playing as many video games as she’d planned for. And that fleeting moment of pity is apparently more than Amanda Marcotte can afford for anyone else outside of her Zoom bubble.