I know that most people are feeling Zoomed out. I know that I am supposed to feel that way too. I know that nothing replaces real in person human interaction. I mean I did tear up when first reunited with friends in person, albeit outside and six feet apart, back in summer 2020. But I have also noticed that I have developed real working relationships, real friendships, real feelings for people I have only interacted with on Zoom (and other streaming platforms!) Is that weird? Am I creepy? I might be.
I’ve seen most of the Zoom jokes and memes — about what a Zoom meeting would translate into in real life complete with attendees wearing just underwear or sweatpants or spontaneously screaming at their kids while using the bathroom all the while presenting a power point deck.
I was an early follower of Room Rater feeling a connection to Senator Claire McCaskill on Morning Joe as I had my coffee in my kitchen while watching her comment on the latest news while she sat in her kitchen with her fresh baked goods displayed nearby under a glass cake dome. I took note of her political acumen and her latest homemade coffee cake. I became just a little obsessed with Jimmy Fallon’s at home slide, arcade games and home office wallpaper. I may have spent more time than the average person trying to figure out where I could purchase a similar patterned wallpaper. Something about seeing Jimmy work in his home made me feel like I knew him, like maybe we were friends? I think we could be good friends. Same with Senator McCaskill. I also bake — a lot!
And then there are the people who I have been interacting with (as in it goes both ways with) via Zoom and other online platforms since the beginning of the pandemic. A little background here — no Zoom background pun intended! I started working for an organization turned company at the start of the pandemic that was founded because of the pandemic. Our goal was and still is to connect readers and writers in the age of COVID and beyond. It’s run by some really amazing authors, writers, designers and other creative types who started posting about book launches and then creating author interviews on Zoom and other virtual platforms. We all learned this new virtual world together. Many of them knew each other from a pre-virtual era because they live near each other and some had worked together before. I don’t live near them, and I only met and then got to know my co-workers (and friends?!) on these virtual platforms.