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Why dont we use video when collaborating online?

Why dont we use video when collaborating online...

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Working with an organisation that specialises in web collaboaration and espouses the many productivity benefits that this can bring. There has been a huge uptake in virtual meetings - however the video aspect is very rarely enabled. In fact when my colleague recently enabled it he was emailed to say "Do you know you have got your camera on?!" as it was so alien.

It has been shown that we trust people and build rapport faster with people when we can see them - but why are we so camera shy? What do you think?  And has anyone had success in encouraging video usage ?

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By bryanedwards
19th Aug 2013 06:53

Hi Lucinda

I think it may just be down to 'comfort zone' behaviour. The technology is new and people are used to their habits. Give it another 20 years!

By the way, my latest blog features tips on interviewing via skype, including how to minimise some of the barriers to honest communication when using video technology.

Hope that helps


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Jamie Lawrence, HRZone
By Jamie Lawrence
19th Aug 2013 08:59

I went to an interesting talk recently and one of the academics talking said the world underwent a fundamental shift when we entered the 'age of recordability' i.e. when our behaviour could be captured and replayed. I think this explains one of the concerns people have, that others could record them.

Also - it's a lot easier to talk when you don't need to worry about your body language but when on video it's like there's a magnifying lens on you because the other people watching you on camera aren't as distracted by background stimuli i.e. they are focusing on YOU and all your subtleties and I think this also puts people off.

Building rapport and succeeding through using video is about being honest, authentic and allowing yourself to be yourself - unfortunately this is difficult to do in such an environment, but we need to encourage uptake of video as it's, as you say Lucinda, a very fast way to build trust without the associated costs of face-to-face meetings.


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By fiona15
21st Aug 2013 06:50

In my experience, much of the reason people don't use video for online collaboration is because they are out of their comfort zone, as Bryan said.

I have a fair bit of experience conducting training via video conferencing and I found the more often we did it, the more comfortable and confident people became.

Part of the reason for this was that they became used to seeing themselves on screen (you know that picture-in-picture thing) and partly because they became used to operating the equipment so they knew how to get rid of picture-in-picture!  :)

After doing it a few times, they could appreciate the benefits and so were more prepared to battle through their own discomfort.



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Jamie Lawrence, HRZone
By Jamie Lawrence
21st Aug 2013 12:21

Maybe there's a tipping point - when people view the benefits as outweighing the potential downside, they are more prepared to, as you say Fiona, battle through their discomfort. In fact this is common with change and new workplace processes that employees have to get used to. The 'What's In It For Me' angle is still king.

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Lucinda Carney
By Lucinda Carney
10th Sep 2013 15:28

Apologies for delayed response, holiday time an all that. Thank you for your observations, I think the combination of tech discomfort and self conscioiusness could well be addressed through practice as you say.

Fascinated by the recordability point - isnt it interesting that we may be self conscious about video and recordabilty yet some of the stuff that is written on social media eg facebook/twitter can be so inappropriate.

Perhaps its  a bit like the concept of being in your car and feeling invincible or like no one can see you picking your nose on the M25 (you know who you are) on social media but on video you have to look at yourself when you put video on so you are more self aware?

I am just about to launch a training programme with a core aspect being about collaborating via video between modules. I would be really interested to hear any other top tips from those in the know.



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