ZOOM me in
The Pandemic of ZOOM
By Umer Raza
It is on WhatsApp, on LinkedIn, on Facebook on twitter and everywhere. Pandemic……No the advert for the next Zoom discussion or interview.
The pandemic has scared us on the one hand and on the other it has created space for screen lovers and show intellectuals. The amount of online discussions, interviews and even mini conferences has created storm in this visual world of Internet and remote access. It is not only the case with us (the people in Pakistan or of my profession) but it is the case with everyone everywhere.
Those who love to speak, and love to make a show of anything they do Zoom into everything of their lives. Their picture at office desk, picture of an official client meeting, a picture of latest online certificate and much more are Zoomed. COVID (and of course Social Media) created an opportunity. All it takes now is an Internet connection, a smart phone, a hand free and here you go. You do not need to move out, not have to spend any money, not to think and even you do not have to have any actual content. You just have to say things like Positivity, Success, Dreams, Passion, Creativity and other catchy words and phrases and here you go. You may find a host or you will find a guest easily to be on your show. Next thing you have to do is to make a quick computer banner. Place your photo in it and a catchy introduction. Spread this everywhere, all WhatsApp groups, all LinkedIn and all facebook. Then once the talk is done spread the recording everywhere.
One other benefit of on line interviews, discussions etc. is that you do not have to face any actual audience/crowd. You don’t have to fear the drowsy faces of audience, not to fear boos or any interruptions. When you are speaking others are quite or not listening at all and you are Zoomed. You just have to add few nice words Be Positive, Habits of Successful people, Follow your dreams, Do what you are passionate about and you will get thumbs up. People who do not bother to share any feedback just share thumbs up and you get encouraged to continue what ever you are doing regardless if that was worth it or not.
What real value this Zoom has created other than making every one a self styled Internet celebrity and that too without much effort. Other day I saw a poster of a person on LinkedIn, who was to be a guest of honor in a zoom interview with a host. The introduction of the guest on the banner said that he has 13 years of experience in organizations so and so………and there were a total of 8 organizations listed. I wondered that on average this person has 1.6 years in each organization and as far as I know these quick changes in jobs never go well with the overall competency of a person. Any way, when I heard him speaking it turned out a usual talk of Passion, dreams, success and leadership etc. without much substance. It also dawned on me that now it is not competency that is required but a good way of story telling can do the trick. Hence many have started learning to tell a story rather than making a story of themselves. This is just like learning the tricks to win the game, instead of learning the game.
It is indeed nice that technology has created opportunities for us. But at the same time it is deplorable that we are using a nice technology to gain quick fame only. It is good that one must share if someone has something good to share and of substance. But sharing something (and for that matter anything) on social media just because it is free, keeps us in an illusion that it is free. It is indeed free to post, but it is actually very expensive because your dignity, self-respect and future are in Zoom and not yourself.