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The Awful Awkwardness Of Conference Calls--Visualized

YouTube stars Tripp & Tyler bring the awkwardness of conference calls to cringing life with a short that imagines them happening in person and GIF artist Zach Scott creates a conference call site almost too awful to contemplate.

Office life is full of lots of moments that can slowly suck the joy out of your heart. Most of these have been chronicled to death, though, everywhere from Dilbert and Office Space to every workplace sitcom of the last half-century. Sometimes, however, there are fresh reminders that some areas have yet to be explored.

A new video from YouTube stars Tripp & Tyler revels in everything that is excruciating about machine-assisted conference calls, by bringing them into the realm of the physical. “A Conference Call In Real Life” has all its participants entering an actual conference room when they enter the special line made for this call, and shows how the distance between everybody remains there, even when the geographical distance has been removed.

All the details that make these calls such wince-inducing affairs as they are seem magnified when applied to people actually facing each other. The urge to fill the dead air with words when just two people are on the line and waiting for others to join is demonstrated mercifully briefly before enough people enter the conversation to talk all over each other.

While the video is played for laughs, ConferenceCall.biz provides a much bleaker contemplation of the phenomenon. The site, created by artist Zach Scott, presents a loop of snippets of staple dialog from conference call-there is much talk of modifications to testing schedules, mapping procedures, and multiple plaintive cries of "is anyone here?"--accompanied by thematically appropriate GIFs and set to a funereal ambient track. Depending on your mindset, the site may provoke a slightly bitter laugh or a long period of despondence.

Both creations may be hard to watch, because of similarities to your own life, but at least you’ll have an anecdote ready to go for that dead moment in your next conference call.

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