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LinkedIn is making our 'Zoom Dysphoria' worse

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Graphic showing a twisted, deformed abstract human trying to take a selfie

Regular readers will know I have an almost pathological dislike of being photographed. I prefer not to look at myself every waking hour, soaking up the acne scars, receding hairline, bags under my eyes, wild eyebrow hair and whatever else catches my eye. It's why my avatar is odd here, and everywhere else you'll see a cartoon.

(Don't get me started on video calls.)

Our selfie-obsessed feeds and algorithms have amplified "Zoom Dysphoria," a heightened self-awareness that becomes obsessive and destructive. We compensate with filters, which makes things worse. Then there's the mirror effect default in selfie cameras that flips the image. Hence, we appear 'normal,' yet everything else is reversed. All of which adds to the other-worldliness of our self-image as viewed through a digital lens.

Sites like LinkedIn could help alleviate some of this discomfort by not being so insistent on a "true likeness," or at least not presenting it twice on the page and every time you post. The chances of that happening are close to zero.

So it falls on us to take care of ourselves. We can condition ourselves to reject the popularity contest of the 'algorithm' and the selfie. Switch off the camera after a polite "hello" to the video conference group. Play with the concept of a self-portrait with abstract images that don't expose our "digital selves."

We could then return to a less stressful time when a mirror was the only way to see ourselves.

And perhaps be a little happier.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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