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We Are All Livestreamers Now, and Zoom Is Our Stage

Published onMay 19, 2020
We Are All Livestreamers Now, and Zoom Is Our Stage

DID YOU FIND yourself, over these last fascinating and upsetting weeks, always on camera? Attending meetings and social gatherings, pitches and parties, over  videoconference? Toasting into the void? I had to construct a little studio, building a tower of books and mounting lights on top to get the backdrop right. I hate the moment when you enter the call and it shows you all alone in your corner. In that instant I see only my lopsided jaw and splotchy nose, a meaty jug of disappointment, mirrored back at me. Then again it's the only face on hand. You can't order a new face on Amazon. You can't even get a new webcam; everything is sold out.

Way before video calls, I was a freelancer, in a one-room apartment. I worked at home with a modem that shared a line with my phone. My work relationships always focused on doing a thing: writing the code, writing the copy, launching the website. Even though it was transactional, work was often intensely social; you'd make a lot of friends chatting, often for hours, about what you were doing. You'd have meetings in the park. You'd find other freelancers through word of mouth and hang out at their kitchen tables. It was random and satisfying. But at a certain point you'd need a little shelter, and health insurance if you could get it. So off to interviews and, hopefully, into the office you would go. Less fun but more stable….


We Are All Livestreamers Now, and Zoom Is Our Stage(Paul Ford, Wired, May 19, 2020)

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