Here's some info about a pair of online Axios events coming Thursday to a living room or kitchen near you.
Today's Login is 1,441 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The rapid trajectory of videoconferencing service Zoom has entered a new phase: What started as a social lifeline during the pandemic, and then became an object of privacy and security concerns, has now become a grind, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reports.
Why it matters: Zoom is wearing a lot of us down, and as our era of enforced online work and socializing drags on, we're all going to have to learn how to better conserve our physical and psychological energy.
There are several reasons why videoconferencing is so exhausting.
1. We're using it for everything now. It would be one thing if we only used Zoom for team meetings and one-on-ones at work. But Zoom is now the go-to tool for informal social gatherings and virtual happy hours, family events and religious services, not to mention kids' online classes, doctors' appointments and perhaps a therapy session to process it all.
2. Videoconferencing imposes cognitive and psychological frictions and aggravates social anxieties. As experts in human-computer interaction point out, using Zoom means putting on a show for others without being able to rely on the cues we primates depend on in physical encounters.
3. Zoom is exhausting because, right now, everything is exhausting.
Our thought bubble: Not everything needs to be a Zoom meeting. Phone calls still work fine too.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Facebook is spending $5.7 billion to become the largest minority shareholder of Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio, Axios' Orion Rummler and I report.
Why it matters: Facebook has long sought a way to get more people in India using its platforms. In the past it has looked to subsidize mobile traffic to its services, a move that drew the ire of net neutrality advocates and other critics.
Details: Facebook is investing in Jio Platforms, the telecom and tech subsidiary of Mumbai-based conglomerate Reliance Industries. The companies are planning a mobile shopping initiative by pairing WhatsApp and JioMart, Jio's digital commerce platform for shops and other small businesses, Facebook chief revenue officer David Fischer and Jio VP Ajit Mohan said in a joint press release.
What they're saying: "India is in the midst of one of the most dynamic social and economic transformations the world has ever seen, driven by the rapid adoption of digital technologies," Fischer and Mohan said. "In just the past five years, more than 560 million people in India have gained access to the internet."
Facebook is announcing $2 million in grants today aimed at expanding internet access in areas trying to grapple with COVID-19 amid limited connectivity both in the U.S. and around the world.
Why it matters: The digital divide has grown in recent years, in an era when internet access is the key to employment, education and lifesaving information.
Details: Per information shared with Axios, Facebook is partnering with two groups: The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), which helps connect public spaces in rural America, and NetHope, which works globally to help large non-governmental agencies meet the tech and power needs of their relief projects.
What they're saying:
Endless Zoom meetings may be exhausting (see above), but there are some opportunities to make them a bit more tolerable.
The big picture: Sports teams, movie studios and independent bookstores are all distributing images to serve as virtual backdrops, while users are dressing in costume or recording videos of themselves to liven up their video chats.
Here are some options:
O. Henry would love this one: A construction crew in Denver cut through a fiber line, knocking out the city's "call before you dig" hotline.