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视频软件用到让人厌倦,但想说再见却不容易

视频软件用到让人厌倦,但想说再见却不容易

Lydia Belanger 2020年06月11日
受新冠疫情影响,今年很多人开始了没完没了的视频通话。

图片来源:Illustration by Fortune

让我们一起将视线投向美国新冠疫情的“震中”——纽约市,在居家令下达6天之后,亚历克斯·弗雷杜斯8岁的儿子“走进”了自己三年级的课堂,跟往常不一样的是,今天的课程要从一次“点击”开始。

轻击鼠标之后,面带微笑的同学和老师便会出现在屏幕上,向他挥手致意,同时,大家的视线也会投向屏幕外的东西。为了模拟孩子们习以为常的社交互动,每天早上,小组都需要通过热门虚拟会议软件Zoom打卡。在不到一小时的课程中,老师问了学生最近感觉如何,在家里都做了些什么。每个孩子都有机会发言。随后,老师会将本周剩余时间的线上课程安排告诉学生。

当晚晚些时候,弗雷杜斯在餐桌上告诉儿子,未来一段时间的课程都将在线上完成。听到这一消息,小男孩皱了皱眉。他说:“我不喜欢线上课,太难了。要是不能和小伙伴们一起玩,我也不想见到他们。”

随后几周,弗雷杜斯与儿子商量,只上那些她觉得最重要的课程。(比如,儿子数学很好,所以没有必要逼着他每节数学课都去上。)毕竟儿子才8岁,使用键盘或鼠标都有些费劲,而且她以前一直告诉孩子不许碰她的电脑。对孩子而言,线上学习本身也要适应一段时间,这无疑会让孩子更加想念自己的小伙伴,也会因此影响孩子的心情。

对很多因为疫情而无法出门社交的成年人来说,弗雷杜斯儿子的痛苦他们显然也是感同身受,更不用说那些不是很会使用信息技术的人了。遵守规定,宅在家中,大家为了个人及公共卫生安全,在人际交往方面做出了牺牲。对于许多人来说,这就意味着没完没了的视频通话。

数据证明,至少对很多从事白领技术工作的人而言确实如此。Clockwise是一款专注优化员工工作安排的时间管理软件,其提供的数据显示:相较于疫情爆发前,员工在小组会议和一对一会议上花费的时间分别增加了29%和24%。正常情况下,很多事情在办公桌或饮水机旁就可以谈,现在却成了一种奢望。

很多人都在抨击Zoom,表示Zoom让他们“头疼不已”、“疲惫不堪”,呼吁专家弄清楚视频通话让我们筋疲力尽的原因所在。解释多种多样,Axios上的文章简要总结如下:视频电话并非自然的交谈方式;很难进行目光交流;能够看到自己,容易让人分心;还有无法改变的对话环境——电脑屏幕。这些原因加上很多其他因素,给我们大脑的信息处理带来了困难。

微软研究员南希·贝姆表示,虽然这些情况确实存在,但我们不应将疫情造成的压力归咎于技术。

自20世纪90年代开始,贝姆便一直在研究线上交互行为,著有《数字时代与推特上的个人联系:一部自传》一书(Personal Connections in the Digital Age and Twitter: A Biography),她说:“在面对新生事物时,哪怕是你喜欢的东西,也需要适应。”在谈到社交疏离时期的线上会议时,她表示:“我想,如果这种状况持续一段时间,人们的态度应该会有所变化。”

但这并不意味着人们在适应了之后就会接受这种工作学习的方式。奥尔加·卡西亚·卡普兰是三个孩子的母亲,同时也是学生数据隐私保护的倡导者。她表示,自己12岁的女儿在Zoom上完成了一个多月的课之后,现在不像以前那么愿意通过Zoom来学习了。和许多同学一样,她目前会在上课时关掉电脑的摄像头。

加西亚·卡普兰说:“有些孩子觉得这种上课方式侵犯了自己的空间,侵犯了自己的隐私,这让孩子们有些难以接受。有的孩子会说:‘为什么我必须让老师看见我的屋子?’也有孩子会觉得:‘有些同学和我算不上是朋友,我不想让他们看到我住的地方。’”

Garcia-Kaplan’s daughter has also expressed unwillingness to discuss “how quarantine is going” with her teacher and classmates. Her reluctance to open up in that way, day after day, indicates she’s fed up with more than just the video calls. 加西亚·卡普兰的女儿还表示,自己不愿意与老师和同学讨论“隔离期间过得怎么样”这样的话题。她对这种交互方式的抵触说明让她无法忍受的可不只是那些视频通话。

“有人认为只要用上了这些技术我们就可以开始干活了,不会觉得累。”贝姆说,“也有人认为如果我们在工作中使用了这些技术还觉得累,那就是技术出了问题,与疫情无关。”

疫情(如果不是因为弗洛伊德之死而在全美引发的反种族歧视和反警察暴力游行示威)造成的情感负担让许多人很难或无力参与电话会议或线上课程。(另一制约因素则来自于经济方面,因为许多人家中可能没有网络或者其他的数字资源。)因此,弗雷杜斯表示,处于优势地位的人应该大声说出潜在的局限性,前提是这么做不会对自己造成不利或负担。

弗雷杜斯便与儿子的老师及所在学校的行政人员进行了面谈,讨论了学生在适应线上教学过程中所面临的挑战。她本人曾是一名老师,现在则是塞顿·霍尔大学教育领导力管理与政策系的教授。

“我可以让孩子根据自己的情况有选择性的上网课,但其他家长未必能做到,可能有些家长也不知道怎么判断哪些课对孩子来说最为重要,”弗雷杜斯说,“在我看来,如果家长们都把自己孩子上网课的情况说出来,那么学校就会对孩子们上课的真实情况有更深刻的认识,了解孩子们上课时都有哪些挑战以及自己能为此提供哪些支持。”

对于上班族而言也是如此。有些上班族可能更有能力为此发声,指出自己与同事们在家工作时还需要照顾其他家庭成员。

弗雷杜斯提醒说,即便技术、不平等、学习习惯不同以及疫情本身都不是造成各种不便的根本原因,人们也不应该随便找个别的“替罪羊”来当作批判的靶子。

“我不认为我们可以指望学校、个性化指导或某些教育工作者能化腐朽为神奇,解决全球疫情造成的问题。” 弗雷杜斯说,“某种意义上可以说:疫情会造成损失,这无可避免。”

疫情迫使社会各阶层进行了一项全新的社会实验,但要想从可持续的角度弄清人们对使用视频会议工具的反应,则需要切实开展纵向研究。眼下骤然出现的社会变化让人们产生了各种混乱交织的感受。

贝姆说:“研究人们现在对这些工具的看法时必须小心谨慎,对未来人们会如何看待这些工具进行概括时也应秉持同样的态度。因为人们内心深处都渴望彼此交流,所以在我看来,这是一个不断优化技术并使之能更好地为我们服务的过程。”(财富中文网)

译者:Feb

让我们一起将视线投向美国新冠疫情的“震中”——纽约市,在居家令下达6天之后,亚历克斯·弗雷杜斯8岁的儿子“走进”了自己三年级的课堂,跟往常不一样的是,今天的课程要从一次“点击”开始。

轻击鼠标之后,面带微笑的同学和老师便会出现在屏幕上,向他挥手致意,同时,大家的视线也会投向屏幕外的东西。为了模拟孩子们习以为常的社交互动,每天早上,小组都需要通过热门虚拟会议软件Zoom打卡。在不到一小时的课程中,老师问了学生最近感觉如何,在家里都做了些什么。每个孩子都有机会发言。随后,老师会将本周剩余时间的线上课程安排告诉学生。

当晚晚些时候,弗雷杜斯在餐桌上告诉儿子,未来一段时间的课程都将在线上完成。听到这一消息,小男孩皱了皱眉。他说:“我不喜欢线上课,太难了。要是不能和小伙伴们一起玩,我也不想见到他们。”

随后几周,弗雷杜斯与儿子商量,只上那些她觉得最重要的课程。(比如,儿子数学很好,所以没有必要逼着他每节数学课都去上。)毕竟儿子才8岁,使用键盘或鼠标都有些费劲,而且她以前一直告诉孩子不许碰她的电脑。对孩子而言,线上学习本身也要适应一段时间,这无疑会让孩子更加想念自己的小伙伴,也会因此影响孩子的心情。

对很多因为疫情而无法出门社交的成年人来说,弗雷杜斯儿子的痛苦他们显然也是感同身受,更不用说那些不是很会使用信息技术的人了。遵守规定,宅在家中,大家为了个人及公共卫生安全,在人际交往方面做出了牺牲。对于许多人来说,这就意味着没完没了的视频通话。

数据证明,至少对很多从事白领技术工作的人而言确实如此。Clockwise是一款专注优化员工工作安排的时间管理软件,其提供的数据显示:相较于疫情爆发前,员工在小组会议和一对一会议上花费的时间分别增加了29%和24%。正常情况下,很多事情在办公桌或饮水机旁就可以谈,现在却成了一种奢望。

很多人都在抨击Zoom,表示Zoom让他们“头疼不已”、“疲惫不堪”,呼吁专家弄清楚视频通话让我们筋疲力尽的原因所在。解释多种多样,Axios上的文章简要总结如下:视频电话并非自然的交谈方式;很难进行目光交流;能够看到自己,容易让人分心;还有无法改变的对话环境——电脑屏幕。这些原因加上很多其他因素,给我们大脑的信息处理带来了困难。

微软研究员南希·贝姆表示,虽然这些情况确实存在,但我们不应将疫情造成的压力归咎于技术。

自20世纪90年代开始,贝姆便一直在研究线上交互行为,著有《数字时代与推特上的个人联系:一部自传》一书(Personal Connections in the Digital Age and Twitter: A Biography),她说:“在面对新生事物时,哪怕是你喜欢的东西,也需要适应。”在谈到社交疏离时期的线上会议时,她表示:“我想,如果这种状况持续一段时间,人们的态度应该会有所变化。”

但这并不意味着人们在适应了之后就会接受这种工作学习的方式。奥尔加·卡西亚·卡普兰是三个孩子的母亲,同时也是学生数据隐私保护的倡导者。她表示,自己12岁的女儿在Zoom上完成了一个多月的课之后,现在不像以前那么愿意通过Zoom来学习了。和许多同学一样,她目前会在上课时关掉电脑的摄像头。

加西亚·卡普兰说:“有些孩子觉得这种上课方式侵犯了自己的空间,侵犯了自己的隐私,这让孩子们有些难以接受。有的孩子会说:‘为什么我必须让老师看见我的屋子?’也有孩子会觉得:‘有些同学和我算不上是朋友,我不想让他们看到我住的地方。’”

Garcia-Kaplan’s daughter has also expressed unwillingness to discuss “how quarantine is going” with her teacher and classmates. Her reluctance to open up in that way, day after day, indicates she’s fed up with more than just the video calls. 加西亚·卡普兰的女儿还表示,自己不愿意与老师和同学讨论“隔离期间过得怎么样”这样的话题。她对这种交互方式的抵触说明让她无法忍受的可不只是那些视频通话。

“有人认为只要用上了这些技术我们就可以开始干活了,不会觉得累。”贝姆说,“也有人认为如果我们在工作中使用了这些技术还觉得累,那就是技术出了问题,与疫情无关。”

疫情(如果不是因为弗洛伊德之死而在全美引发的反种族歧视和反警察暴力游行示威)造成的情感负担让许多人很难或无力参与电话会议或线上课程。(另一制约因素则来自于经济方面,因为许多人家中可能没有网络或者其他的数字资源。)因此,弗雷杜斯表示,处于优势地位的人应该大声说出潜在的局限性,前提是这么做不会对自己造成不利或负担。

弗雷杜斯便与儿子的老师及所在学校的行政人员进行了面谈,讨论了学生在适应线上教学过程中所面临的挑战。她本人曾是一名老师,现在则是塞顿·霍尔大学教育领导力管理与政策系的教授。

“我可以让孩子根据自己的情况有选择性的上网课,但其他家长未必能做到,可能有些家长也不知道怎么判断哪些课对孩子来说最为重要,”弗雷杜斯说,“在我看来,如果家长们都把自己孩子上网课的情况说出来,那么学校就会对孩子们上课的真实情况有更深刻的认识,了解孩子们上课时都有哪些挑战以及自己能为此提供哪些支持。”

对于上班族而言也是如此。有些上班族可能更有能力为此发声,指出自己与同事们在家工作时还需要照顾其他家庭成员。

弗雷杜斯提醒说,即便技术、不平等、学习习惯不同以及疫情本身都不是造成各种不便的根本原因,人们也不应该随便找个别的“替罪羊”来当作批判的靶子。

“我不认为我们可以指望学校、个性化指导或某些教育工作者能化腐朽为神奇,解决全球疫情造成的问题。” 弗雷杜斯说,“某种意义上可以说:疫情会造成损失,这无可避免。”

疫情迫使社会各阶层进行了一项全新的社会实验,但要想从可持续的角度弄清人们对使用视频会议工具的反应,则需要切实开展纵向研究。眼下骤然出现的社会变化让人们产生了各种混乱交织的感受。

贝姆说:“研究人们现在对这些工具的看法时必须小心谨慎,对未来人们会如何看待这些工具进行概括时也应秉持同样的态度。因为人们内心深处都渴望彼此交流,所以在我看来,这是一个不断优化技术并使之能更好地为我们服务的过程。”(财富中文网)

译者:Feb

Six days into stay-at-home orders in New York City, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., a third-grade class for Alex Freidus’s 8-year-old son started with an unusual step: a click.

Her son’s classmates and teacher appeared on the screen, smiling and waving and staring at things outside the frame. The morning group check-in, hosted on the popular virtual conferencing tool Zoom, was an attempt to approximate the social interaction the children were used to enjoying in person. During the session, which lasted just under an hour, the teacher asked the students about how they were feeling and what they had been up to at home. Every child had the opportunity to speak. Then the teacher laid out virtual lesson plans for the rest of the week.

Later that night, at the dinner table, Friedus mentioned to her son that virtual sessions would be the new routine. He frowned. “I do not like that,” he said. “It’s hard. And I don’t want to see my friends if I can’t play with them.”

In the weeks since, Freidus has negotiated with her son to get him to engage with the lessons she thinks are most critical for him. (He’s strong in math, for example, so she doesn’t push him to tune into every math lesson.) But he’s only 8. He hasn't fully learned how to type or use a computer mouse, and she has always instilled in him that her laptop is off-limits. Online learning itself is a learning curve for him, which adds to the frustration of missing his friends.

Freidus’s son’s lamentations may ring just as true for adults starved of social interaction, let alone those who are less tech-savvy, during the pandemic. People who comply with stay-at-home orders are sacrificing in-person connection for personal and public health. For many, this has meant a transition to seemingly endless video calls.

The data already prove it out, at least for those in white-collar tech jobs: Workers are spending 29% more time in team meetings and 24% more time in one-on-one meetings than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Clockwise, the maker of a calendar assistant that optimizes employees' work schedules. In a completely work-from-home environment, colleagues can't drop by each other’s desks or have unplanned watercooler conversations.

Countless people have decried newfound “Zoom hangovers” or “Zoom fatigue,” calling upon experts to figure out what it is about video calls that drains us. Explanations run the gamut, as this Axios article concisely summarizes: It’s not a natural way to have a conversation. It’s difficult to make eye contact. We can see ourselves, which is distracting. Every conversation takes place in the same context—on the same screen. All of this, and more, is difficult for our brains to process.

While all of these very real phenomena are at play, that doesn’t mean that we should place undue blame on technology for the stress the pandemic has wrought, says Microsoft researcher Nancy Baym.

“Anything that’s different, even if you like it, requires some amount of adjustment,” says Baym, who has been studying online interaction since the early 1990s and is the author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age and Twitter: A Biography, among other works. “I imagine that if we keep this up over time,” she says of virtual meetings amid social distancing, “the kinds of complaints that people have will change.”

That doesn’t mean people will be onboard once they overcome the learning curve. Olga Garcia-Kaplan, a mother of three and student data privacy advocate, says that after more than a month of school via Zoom, her 12-year-old daughter’s tolerance for learning via the medium has plummeted. She and many classmates now log on with their cameras off.

“Some of them are seeing it as an invasive medium,” Garcia-Kaplan says. “It’s a lot for them to deal with, from a privacy perspective: ‘Why do I have to show my teacher my home?’ and ‘I don’t want kids who I’m not necessarily friends with to see my home, either.’”

“There’s this idea that we’re all just going to hop onto technology and get to work, and we won’t be tired,” Baym says, “Or we’re going to hop onto technology and get to work, and if we’re tired, it’s because of the technology, rather than because the world is in crisis.”

The emotional burden of the pandemic (if not the recent protests about racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd) may make it challenging or impossible for someone to call into meetings and classes. (So may the economic one, in the case of households that don’t have Internet connections or other digital resources.) That’s why Freidus says it’s important for people in a privileged position to speak up about potential limitations—provided they feel secure in doing so without fear of recourse.

For her part, Freidus has met with her son’s teacher and school administrators to discuss the challenges students have had adapting to the virtual classroom. She herself is a former teacher, now a professor at Seton Hall University in the department of Education Leadership Management and Policy.

“I am comfortable treating some of this work as optional, but I know all families don’t feel comfortable doing that, or don’t feel confident assessing what’s most important,” Freidus says. “I think that if enough families share their stories, schools will be better informed in terms of thinking about what’s happening for kids, what the challenges are, and how they can best support the range of situations going on.”

The same could be said for workplaces. Some employees may feel more empowered than others to point out the caregiving responsibilities they and their colleagues are juggling while working from home.

If the technology is not fundamentally to blame—and inequality, divergent learning styles, and the pandemic itself are—that doesn’t mean people merely should grasp for another convenient scapegoat, Freidus warns.

“I also think that we cannot expect schools, or individualized instruction, or whatever extraordinary efforts that some educators can make, to solve the problem of a worldwide crisis,” Freidus says. “Part of it is saying: There is loss, and there is going to be loss.”

The pandemic is forcing part of society to engage in a new experiment—but it’s going to take real, longitudinal research to tease out how people respond to using videoconferencing tools on a sustained basis, Baym says. Right now, feelings about abrupt societal change are muddling feelings about virtually everything else.

“I would be really wary of taking any findings about how people feel about these tools right now and generalizing to how they’re going to feel about them in the future,” Baym says. “What I see is always a process of trying to make these technologies work for us as best they can, because we yearn to be in communication with one another.”

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