We were never supposed to see our own faces this much

I’ve been saying this ever since the company I work for moved to remote work during the pandemic. Thankfully, for me, it decided to stay that way when many other companies shifted back to the office.

Imagine you walk up to someone to have a conversation and you hand them a small rectangular mirror and say, Would you mind holding this so I can study my every facial expression as we talk?” That’s pretty much what the standard settings on most team collaboration or video chat services are creating. I wish the default setting could be set to hide self-view”, but in the platforms I’ve used, it is something you have to toggle on a per call/meeting basis. Microsoft Teams gives you the ability to do a quick self check” before joining a call, which has value, but hiding the self-view once you are in the meeting would be a welcome default.

I turn the self view off not because I’m overly self-conscious about my appearance (though I recognize this is something that makes it even more stressful for many people), but because I can’t help but get distracted by my dog in the background or looking to see what item I may have left on the table behind me. Sometimes, I become focused on my facial expressions. No matter the distraction, these are all things that can be avoided by disabling the self-view and focusing the attention on the other people, as you would in an in-person conversation.

One point I’d never considered:

Before mirrors were invented, the earliest type of mirror” used was nature — reflections in ponds, lakes and rivers when waters were calm enough to reveal a flat surface.

Isn’t it ironic that we seek out these same locations for their serene peacefulness, likely never using them as a selfie-eval tool in modern times.

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