Obviously, some aspects of prepandemic life can’t be re-created or replaced. In person, humans can sync up to one another through gaze and body language—which is impossible over phone or text, and difficult over videochat. Melissa Mazmanian, an associate informatics professor at UC Irvine, recently had to switch from in-person to Zoom interviews for a research project, “and some of them just don’t work as well,” she said. “I can’t read [subjects’] body language and help them feel comfortable in the way that I can when I’m there.”
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