Empathy during pandemic: Masking your feelings?

In my previous post, Online versus in-class instruction is not really our choice for Fall, I made the argument that the face-to-face regime for college classes derived from CDC guidelines is far from the traditional in-class instruction that we are used to providing.

The plan I christened as a “COVID-Blended-Distanced plan” forced an instructor into difficult multitasking, watching students in-person and online and enforced distancing rules. The already distracted instructor would then have to try to read the body language of students separated by distance rules, through plexiglass barriers and masks. I suggested that online instructors using tools such as Zoom might well create an experience more like traditional face-to-face college courses.

Masks change everything!

Communicating with Masks – Kiki Schirr

A new free mini-e-book from Martin Lindstrom, Buyology for a Coronavirus World, decries the loss of empathy resulting from wearing face masks. In Martin’s view masks eliminate empathy!

Even without the distractions of plexiglass barriers, video cameras, viewing other online students, and all the other facets of COVID-Blended-Distanced teaching, the simple wearing of masks cuts off vital communication and all empathy, leading to the conclusion that Zoom or its competitors will likely provide a more personal, more traditional classroom experience than masked instruction!

Not just Higher Education – Life and Marketing in the Masked World

Lindstrom is interested in the world beyond my classroom. He believes that worldwide empathy has been replaced by fear and face masks. And it is not a temporary effect, but an acceleration of a trend already underway.

Measured empathy among the young is down 50%. Lindstrom argues that this is a natural result of the constant use of electronic masks – smartphones and earbuds. In his view, face masks are accelerating a worldwide loss of empathy.

Read the ebook to gain his perspective on how the loss of empathy will affect our world and marketer’s efforts to reach their customers.

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