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On the Dynamics of Zoom Fatigue

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The COVID-19 pandemic made videoconferencing tools an essential part of our everyday lives as they enabled us to keep in touch in a time of social distancing. Having said that, however, many people have found virtual interactions to be surprisingly exhausting. This has given rise to the novel concept of Zoom fatigue. The purpose of this article is to explore the interpersonal dynamics that lie behind this peculiar phenomenon. The article first introduces Zoom fatigue and critiques the pronounced brain-centrism that undergirds current explanations of the phenomenon. It then proposes a more embodied approach to interaction, discusses the mediating role of videoconferencing technology, and proceeds to present a preliminary list of five dynamics that may induce Zoom fatigue: Awkward turn-taking, inhibited spontaneity, restricted motility, lack of eye contact, and increased self-awareness. It is ultimately argued that the five dynamics identified here should make us temper our expectations about the hybrid future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConvergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies
ISSN1354-8565
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2022

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