I’ve been reading article after article about people who are struggling, now that working from home and videoconferencing are their new normal. Articles talking about how tired people are after being on videoconference all day are sprouting like dandelions after rain.
And I should not be amused, but I am – because many of these articles explain that being on videoconference is tiring because people can’t figure out facial expressions, tone of voice, and other nonverbal signals due to the vagaries of videoconferencing. One article even said that our (meaning NT) brains will interpret lags in video as dishonest hesitations, and choppy signals as stammering and stuttering. The nonverbal signals are not clear, and trying to interpret them anyway is what’s tiring people out.
Excuse me while I laugh. Bitterly, maybe, but I need to laugh.
I should not be amused, but I am, because what this means is, for maybe the first time in their lives, NTs are getting a sense of how hard social interaction is when you’re autistic. When all you have is the words someone said because you can’t trust that their tone of voice or facial expression actually mean anything meaningful, but they’re annoyed with you because you aren’t picking up on those things without a lot of work and effort.
That is my life ALL. THE. TIME.
Being online is actually LESS tiring for me than being in person, because I don’t have to deal with the whole person’s body – all I can see is their face and shoulders, and maybe their hands. That’s a relief. Less nonverbal noise coming in, compared to the signal of their voice and the typed text they might have to send if there’s too much lag.
But apparently a lot of NTs out there are going absolutely nuts because they’re missing information they think is important.
Is this why they’re so desperate to get back to in-person, close gatherings? Maybe?
What I can hope is people just get used to video communication and stop depending so much on those vague nonverbals, but I doubt that will happen.
Still, this is what it’s like, NTs. This is what I go through every single day.