Daily Bulletin


News

  • Written by Katja Lee, Lecturer, Communication and Media Studies, University of Western Australia

If you need confirmation of how much the world has changed, consider this. Finally I have a thing or two to teach Matthew McConaughey about performance.

McConaughey may have acted in more than 50 movies. He may have, among his accolades, two Golden Globes and an Oscar for best actor. He may be a professor of practice in television and film at the University of Texas.

But he’s just as much a newbie when it comes to Zoom, House Party and the like as the rest of us. It’s a performance reality many of us are not really ready for, despite video chat being nearly two decades old.

Whether it’s a games night, a wine with the gang, your new virtual classroom or boardroom, video conferencing is how many of us are maintaining a semblance of our old connections to loved ones, colleagues and community.

“I’m learning about this, a little bit,” McConaughey told late-night TV chat host Stephen Colbert after he hosted bingo over Zoom for Texan seniors.

“I was on a Zoom conference the other day and one of my friends in particular looked just sensational. He was uplit, he looked just like a czar! And I texted him: "What’s your Zoom game, bud?”

His friend’s game was to have considered video-conferencing as a stage, and then setting that stage using the elements used on any television or film set: lighting, sound and scenery.

What I want to talk about, though, is not the stage but what happens on it: performance.

Staging and performance

Performance is what I study in its broadest social sense as a researcher in persona studies. My speciality is celebrity persona. How celebrities strategically create and maintain public personas is the subject of my new book featuring famous Canadian women (including Margaret Trudeau, mother of Canada’s prime minister, and pop singer Shania Twain).

Hide self: one tip on video conferencing good enough for Matthew McConaughey Shania Twain. Shutterstock

Persona comes from the Greek word for the mask worn by an actor to depict a character. It involves performance, though not acting in the usual sense. It is instead, in the words of leading persona scholars P. David Marshall, Christopher Moore and Kim Barbour:

A strategic public identity that is neither the true individual nor a false individual. It is an identity that is used to navigate the social world and only exists to manage collective connections. It is a performance of the self for strategies to be used in some public setting.

Who are you when you’re in public or interacting with others? How did you create that impression? Persona researchers investigate questions like these in a broad range of contexts – from relationships with family or colleagues to interacting through online video games and social media.

Just think of McConaughey, the good ol’ Texan boy and his development of his signature catchphrase – “alight alright alright”. It’s not false, but nor could it said to be true. It is persona.

Though it is often amplified in celebrities, everyone has a public persona. More than one, in fact.

How we present in a formal meeting is likely to differ to how we interact one-on-one with a close colleague. How we are with friends, and even different groups of friends, might be different again. So too with different family members.

We develop and cultivate these personas over a long period. We become so acclimatised to performing them that they feel “natural”.

Hide Self View

Video conferencing radically changes the conditions under which we interact with others.

As McConaughey’s Zoom mate recognised, it is a shiny new stage on which we’ve been thrust. What makes it different is that it enables (and requires) us to watch ourselves as we perform. This hyper-awareness of how we look and behave can be exhausting, and stressful. It’s not something even most actors ever need to do.

Which is why the “Hide Self View” option is so important.

When you enable this option, you are still performing your persona. You just don’t see it. It’s a little bit more like real life and the other “stages” we’re used to performing on.

Like audio-only phone calls. Here is a “stage” that is deeply familiar and provides some reprieve from the self-surveillance of video-conferencing.

So give yourself, and others, a break from video-conferencing if and when necessary. If you find it exhausting, there’s a good reason. The only real fix is to “switch off”.

That’s a hot tip even for Matthew McConaughey.

Authors: Katja Lee, Lecturer, Communication and Media Studies, University of Western Australia

Read more https://theconversation.com/hide-self-one-tip-on-video-conferencing-good-enough-for-matthew-mcconaughey-136609

Writers Wanted

Forensic linguists can make or break a court case. So who are they and what do they do?

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion