Video calling is brilliant isn't it? At its foundation it enables us to continue with a form of human connection. We get to see our colleagues, we get to connect with the world outside of our four walls and we can use the medium to maintain some sense of normality amongst the uncertainty. There's something even better than that though...
We get to see where everyone lives!
We get to have a subtle look at the background to the video call. We get to notice wallpaper, decor, artwork, pictures... we get a snapshot into someone elses life that we wouldnt normally experience in the office. I have to admit, I'm hooked.
Curiosity is a wonderful part of human nature. Our thirst for information about the world around us is served handsomely by the video call. We not only get a glimpse of our colleagues home lives, we also get to peak into the lives of the rich and famous. Video calling is being used in news broadcasts, on daytime tv. One minute you're sussing out Pam in Accounts' wallpaper, the next you're looking at the home of a critically acclaimed actress. Not only is the global crisis reframing how we work, it's also reframing interaction. Meetings in the office start almost immediately after the last person sits down. Video calls offer an opportunity for a conversation. 'Chris, which room is that? Where in the house are you? Where did you get those lovely blinds? I love your house Chris' - there is a whole new need for conversation. When i'm on the laptop I've even given a tour of our home so everyone can see where we live. Would you do that in a boardroom meeting? I can just imagine... 'before we start, can i just show you my kitchen?' - it just wouldn't happen.
What drives this curiosity?
Curiosity is a basic element of our cognition, yet its function and neural impact is often poorly understood. It is a motivator for learning, influential in decision-making, and crucial for healthy development. Recent years have seen a major growth of interest in both the neuroscience and psychology of curiosity - in an attempt to understand it better.
Curiosity is such a basic part of our human nature that we often miss the impact it has on our lives. Take a moment to consider, though, how much of our time we spend seeking and consuming information, whether browsing the internet, listening to the news or music, watching tiktok videos (who knew that was so fun?!), reading books or magazines, watching TV or otherwise engaging in activities not directly related to our survival. Our insatiable demand for information drives a much of the global economy.
So will this newly discovered outlet for our curious natures continue when the uncertainty has passed? That's up to all of us. We are all making decisions about what we want the future to look like when the new world order arrives. I hope it's a world where our curiosity is encouraged and we are able to relate to people in a much more human way than ever before.
To be curious is to be human and you already know that I think we need so much more of that. So don't blur your background next time your are on a video call becasue I'm not the only one who wants to have a good look at your natural habitat.
There really is no place like home - thanks for inviting me in!