This stone farmhouse in Kilkenny has been carefully restored to create a bright, calming space
This stone farmhouse in Kilkenny has been carefully restored to create a bright, calming space

Nathalie Marquez Courtney

The best outdoor lights to make the most of summer evenings (no electrician needed)
The best outdoor lights to make the most of summer evenings (no electrician needed)

Megan Burns

Follow these chefs’ hacks and make pizza outdoors in your barbecue or a DIY wood-fire oven
Follow these chefs’ hacks and make pizza outdoors in your barbecue or a DIY wood-fire...

Amanda Kavanagh

Why we should all be swimming in the Irish seas this summer
Why we should all be swimming in the Irish seas this summer

Freya Drohan

Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family ask for their interviews be removed from new Sky TV documentary
Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family ask for their interviews be removed from new Sky TV...

Sarah Finnan

Win a La Roche-Posay sun safety hamper, full of SPF skincare
Win a La Roche-Posay sun safety hamper, full of SPF skincare

IMAGE

The ‘Love Island’ 2021 cast has been revealed
The ‘Love Island’ 2021 cast has been revealed

Sarah Finnan

15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news
15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news

Jennifer McShane

This home on Palmerstown Road, Rathmines is on the market for €2.15 million
This home on Palmerstown Road, Rathmines is on the market for €2.15 million

Megan Burns

Chunky wedges, midi dresses and light summer cardigans – What to wear to an Irish garden wedding
Chunky wedges, midi dresses and light summer cardigans – What to wear to an Irish...

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

IMAGEwrites: Eoin Higgins asks ‘Am I the only one finding video calls mortifying?’


by Eoin Higgins
10th Apr 2020
blank

After his 51st video call this week, Eoin Higgins asks – is video-conferencing doing more damage than good? 


Now that many of us live apart – firmly friend-zoned as it were – pals, buddies, even lovers and sometimes acquaintances are socialising exclusively via video conferencing software. While it can sometimes feel as exciting as giving someone a hug via the medium of a PowerPoint pie chart; Zoom, HouseParty, et al are now where social life happens, for better or worse.

We wonder if the other person(s) can see that our line of vision is rarely on them but frantically scanning what’s going on in the background – that’s when we’re not frantically self-assessing ourselves

Sessions stutter and freeze, speed up and sometimes warp our voice into embarrassing robotic echoes across cyberspace – not that our own voice doesn’t sound embarrassing every time we hear it played back to us anyway – but the robotic echoing thing … there’s really no need for that; we were already feeling weirded out by the whole thing.

When the technology works, however, we are all too often checking out each other, slyly. We wonder if the other person(s) can see that our line of vision is rarely on them but frantically scanning what’s going on in the background – that’s when we’re not manically self-assessing ourselves, like we’d gone for drinks in a house of mirrors and we’re trying to find the least self-mutating angle in which to bask.

#yuge

Pre-call, we might – casually, of course – contrive just the right tableaux of background clutter/order/exceedingly good taste, to give off just the right impression, and like our social media posts and expressions, this will no doubt, as we become more familiar with the medium, become contrivance writ #yuge.

everyone else on the call has been sucking in their breath at your misfortune, unable to look away and hoping it’s not them next

You might also be hoping that the stream doesn’t freeze just as you’ve pulled your most terrifying, split-second facial expression. Spoiler: it will. One eyelid drooped, mouth slightly agape, a freeze-framed wobbly hand in the foreground. And the glitch won’t just disappear, eternities can, and will, pass before the stream buffers back for you to acquire yet another just-about-acceptable facial form. In the meantime, everyone else on the call has been sucking in their breath at your misfortune, unable to look away … hoping it’s not them next. Spoiler: it will be.

Flaws you’ve missed

And then there’s the hanging up … Who says goodbye first? What button do I press to end the call? Isn’t it embarrassing pretending to not watch each other fumbling around the interface, post-goodbye, for the always elusive end-call button? When you do find it, it’s like you can finally breathe again. The black screen almost as soothing as the hugs you’ve been really missing.

You thank your lucky stars it’s all over, but soon realise that you’ve missed your friend’s/family’s/yoga teacher’s glitchy faults and flaws, terribly. You rightly decide that as much as it can be a horror show, the streaming video conference call is a real lifeline in these self-isolated, unhugged times and that thankfully, as far apart as we may be, we’re still all in this together, freeze-framed warts and all.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
Emerging after the pandemic: ‘There’s an awkwardness to my interactions, like I’ve forgotten how to socialise’

In just a few months, human contact became one of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Book gift ideas for every kind of reader

Anyone who said books and socks make for boring gifts...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Vegan
EDITORIAL
Delicious vegan-friendly spots to try for a weekend brunch in Dublin

Check out three of our favourite vegan/veggie-friendly spots in Dublin...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
Chrissy Teigen’s past trolling tweets highlight the slut-shaming culture we tolerated

Chrissy Teigen is the queen of oversharing. Usually it’s in...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
Andrew McGinley: ‘I know that they wouldn’t want me to be sad.’

Following the utterly devastating trial of his wife Deirdre last...

By Jennifer McShane

shells cafe
EDITORIAL
A Sligo cottage is transformed into a cool and cosy surfers’ haven

Still one of our favourite homes ever, the easy-breezy interiors...

By IMAGE Interiors & Living

Full House, onscreen father Danny Tanner
EDITORIAL
We’re remembering our favourite onscreen dads for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner (this Sunday 20h...

By Grace McGettigan