Imagine yourself physically in a classroom with pin drop silence. Everyone is looking up at that old, boring professor explaining the relationship between velocity and acceleration.
All of a sudden, you hear a crunching sound.
You look behind you to discover someone eating a bag of Doritos. Suddenly, the focus of the class shifts from velocity to the person snacking.
How embarrassed would you be if you happened to be that person? What might your peers think of you after this peculiar breach of etiquettes? Eating on Zoom is no different! The online learning environment might not have a treatise for snacking but it still expects learners to learn with utmost diligence and sincerity.
The good old habits and etiquettes of in person learning apply implicitly to the post-COVID era of attending lectures and meetings from the comfort of one’s home. The setting might have changed but the values are still the same.
As hilarious as it may seem, snacking with your mic off might equally speak for your lack of interest in the call. The other participants might think of you as an insincere and irresponsible individual, hoping not to be assigned to a breakout room or a group project with you.
On top of that, Zoom and Google Meet are now the new agents of socialization and platforms for meeting new people; the substitutes for Tim Hortons and Starbucks, if I put it that way. Nobody would like to lose the few opportunities available right now for building meaningful relationships amid such unprecedented and isolating times. Would you like this virtual alienation on top of the already overwhelming restrictions? You would not!
Also, if you consider yourself to be an introvert and care little about what other participants think, you might give eating on Zoom a second thought for your own benefit. According to studies, only a few humans are considered to be good at multitasking. Multitasking can also reduce productivity by as much as 40 per cent.
With enough distractions around, you would not want to add snacking on top of that and end up in a situation where research papers and quizzes are looming over your head with just a couple of hours left in the deadline because you were so focused on that burrito that you missed important information related to your class.
To make matters worse, attending a meeting and enjoying a delicious meal are one of the most incompatible tasks one can think of. Dedicating your complete attention to the meeting with no distractions might give you immense inner satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. This should make your post-meeting meal even more delicious after you are done with the call.
To put it succinctly, there are a number of reasons why eating on Zoom might do more harm than good. In light of the prevailing uncertainties, it is hard to tell how long we will be confined to our homes with online sessions.
Embracing the online learning environment while keeping our old values of being diligent and active would be of great help in dispelling any thoughts of snacking while attending an online meeting. Snacking is not a bad thing — however, the time and place at which you indulge in it can be of paramount importance.
Getting ready for the next Zoom call? Make sure to sit in a clean space and let that apple pie rest inside your kitchen. Do not worry, it is patiently waiting for your meeting to end.