The most unnerving aspect of video conferences, happy hours and tele-gatherings is the rectangle that contains an aspect of the meeting that is ironically, not present during face-to-face meetings (unless the meeting is taking place in a mirrored room)–your own face interacting with yourself.
Who knew a slash could offer modest cover?
And an X, privacy?
The frantic search for the icon with the slash in a new app at the beginning of a video session is the equivalent of your hand reaching for a towel, the first night as a guest in a hotel or friend’s home. Your face examining the screen in a very much unscripted close up.
The speaker not set to silent X or slash often prompts the incredulous question, “Is someone watching Netflix?” or a firm, “Could everybody please mute to cut back on the distractions?” The public exposure of the adjacent Netflix window or the teen’s urgent inquiry from another room.
Glimpses into private life exposed or shielded with a simple click.