An Ode to the Mute Button

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.

About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in Life and Culture, Slice of Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to An Ode to the Mute Button

  1. Having spent HOURS in Google Meets and Zoom conferences since we closed 3/18, I know exactly what you mean. I’m in a weekly Zoom writing group right now, and I noticed almost everyone muted as the leader began to speak. This didn’t use to happen, so clearly we all got the memo, LOL!

  2. chuizar says:

    I love the idea of an ode tot he mute button! It will be a remnant of this pandemic, lodged in collective memory and habits, forever. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Rita K. says:

    Over the last week, I’ve had more occasion than ever to use this button, as I learn Zoom and participate in online meetings. Enjoyed this.

  4. Rebecca Atwood says:

    I love this post! I saw a video the other day of a woman on a conference call who did not have that magic slash button activated and, well, her colleagues got to get to know her in a different way.

  5. cmargocs says:

    I’ve been involved in almost four hours of online meetings over the past three days, and can I just say, they’re exhausting? Especially ones that go on past 45 minutes without a break. I know we have a lot of information to share these days; I’m hoping these daily (long) meetings are not going to be the status quo for the rest of our time off. Thanks for pointing out yet another aspect of at home meetings–privacy issues!

  6. Lainie Levin says:

    If only *all* of our embarrassments could be covered that quickly and easily!

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