Zoom is taking over our lives. For Americans stuck at home social distancing, the video platform has become ubiquitous as a tool for work, school, after-hours socializing and even health services. This new (virtual) reality means we’re all adjusting to the idea of existing as small, pixelated, likely double-chinned versions of ourselves. Even worse, Zoom coldly reflects that vision back at us, to haunt our every waking, or at least working, moment.
Sarah Woodard, the director of development for Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington, encountered this strange new world when she recently started doing daily Zoom calls for work.
“One of the very first ones I logged into, I hadn’t taken a shower, and I was up in my bedroom hiding from my kids,” she recalled. “As soon as I logged in I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I was just really distracted by everything.”
Woodard was fraught over her own appearance, she said, and intrigued by the shade of blue on a coworker’s bedroom wall.
“It adds a whole new element to your work life to be watching yourself talking and working while you’re doing it,” she observed.
So Woodard, who went to school for art and occasionally draws comics, turned her flurry of Zoom-related emotions into a pie chart. She called it “Diagram of Zoom Meeting Attention Span,” and it included slices labeled “Removal of cat from keyboard” and “Has my neck always looked like that?” The smallest section, making up only 2 percent of the pie: “Actual meeting content.”
Woodard posted the image to Facebook
on March 25 and it blew up. On her own page, the pie chart got 1,900 shares. But she said another person who shared it garnered an additional 22,000 shares from their page. A nonprofit shared it and spurred another 8,000.
“I was reading what people’s comments were underneath,” Woodard said. “A lot of people were like, ‘Oh my god, the neck, the neck!’”
A reverse image search on Google revealed that the pie chart had been shared in places Woodard didn’t even realize — like the social media pages for Death Wish Coffee Company
, the Virginia Department of Transportation Northern Virginia District
and a Canadian media personality named Marilyn Denis
Woodard didn’t put her name or social media handle on the image. Its proliferation was pointed out to Seven Days
by Woodard’s Burlington neighbor, Sarah Kenney, who wanted to see Woodard get “credit where it’s due.”
“It was kind of fun to see that when it was based on such a self conscious moment for me of having dirty hair and unflattering camera angles,” Woodard said. "It was nice to know I wasn’t alone.”