Yesterday evening I spent a little over an hour talking to my own laptop screen as I flicked along slide after slide in a PowerPoint presentation. It wasn’t that I was practicing something, a run-through to familiarize myself with material. This was a life presentation. There was an audience, members of the Irish Garden Plant Society, but I couldn’t see them, couldn’t interact with them, couldn’t gauge their reaction to my talk – all a sort of disembodied experience. It was my first Zoom presentation and an interesting experience.
Thanks to the thoughtfulness and kindness of many who watched the presentation I have had a large number of messages, with flattering compliments, thanking me for the talk. It dawned on me today, given the number of people who contacted me, that the audience to these Zoom talks also feel the lack of personal interaction which is part and parcel of these events under normal circumstances – the coming together in the meeting hall, the chat and banter with fellow club members in advance of the talk, the interaction with the speaker, the selling of raffle tickets and the bit of teasing that goes with the collection of prizes, the cup of tea/coffee and the biscuits afterwards and the opportunity to catch up with what we are each doing in the garden and otherwise; the exchange of general gardening news, the gossip etc etc. the richness of social intercourse! Zoom doesn’t do that!
In these days of restrictions because of the Covid situation, Zoom is the best available to us and it keeps us in touch, in a way, with our gardening friends. For that it is worthwhile, this screen to screen communication.