In this age of coronavirus, I marvel at the power of Zoom, the remote conferencing service connecting us through video communication. The ability of this application to facilitate social interaction conjures up the famous quote “The medium is the message” by Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist of the 1960s. McLuhan’s quote fits right in with 2020.
While the stay-at-home order stands, Zoom is one of the few means we have to talk to each other. Zoom has become the medium. Judging from the frequency of our personal use, we’re using it a lot.
I no longer remember what day it is, or which event I’m tuned into. Instead, I am touched by sharing experiences with people I know on my computer screen. I’m reminded of their joy, laughter, and contribution to my life. In some ways, I have a more intimate bond with them now than when I knew them in the world without coronavirus. With Zoom, it is easy to identify a person when you’re looking at them through the tunnel vision of gallery view. Qualities such as a certain smile, attitude, and humor become essential indicators for identity.
For people with Parkinson’s, the viewfinder picture of Zoom’s gallery window conveniently crops the picture for much of the tremor and dyskinesia that are a distraction for us in real life. Alternatively, some of our friends keep their shakes in view to bolster their PD warrior image!
How do we brand our gallery window to differentiate ourselves from others? Is the background attractive enough? Is the lighting kind to blemishes? Do we interrupt the group discussion too much?
Luckily, self-consciousness is not necessary, because as the famous lyrics go,
It’s not the pale moon that excites me
That thrills and delights me
Oh no, it’s just the nearness of you