There is something so literal about video. It reminds you of a world that can’t imagine anything but itself. It’s almost as bad as walking down the street. Our friends are made over into evasive strangers: just try making eye contact in videochat. You can’t. It’s as bad as a first date, or a job interview—you sit there, face to face with another human being, and feel unseen. Videochat’s promise of intimacy—friends on the other side of the world, looking at us in our homes!—makes us forget the conditions in which actual intimacy occurs. Where have we had our best conversations? When we were sharing a booth with someone in the back of a dark bar, or lying in bed, or walking somewhere, or nowhere at all, our faces turned in the same direction: outward, toward the world, into which we moved forward together. We arrive at a shared perspective when we do, actually, share a perspective—when we take, quite literally, the same view of things. Then, turning away from that view—and toward each other—can mark a moment of surpassing agreement or sympathy. There are no such moments in videochat.

The Editors of n+1, “Chathexis”