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Life Out of Context

Life Out of Context 

Scrolling through articles, I came across an interesting phrase, context collapse. A term coined around 2002 to describe what happens on social media when your opinions are read by others who they weren’t meant for and taken out of context.

No scrolling up to 2020, the year of perfect vision, right? The term is being used to describe what can happen to a person under prolonged quarantine. With most daily activities (work, school, recreation, hobbies, and leisure) now being restricted to the house, some are finding that they are having difficulties keeping everything in “context”.

As one professor put it, he’s kind of half-assing everything right now, and that’s because of context collapse. He says he can’t focus entirely on his doctoral students’ challenges with their dissertations when his kids need help logging in to their own classes. He can’t practice his bass when he’s getting pulled into a last-minute emergency Zoom meeting. He can’t adequately review a journal article when the garden is desperately in need of weeding. And — he’s learned the hard way — he can’t tell his kids he’s “taking a week off from work” and then sit down at his laptop and hammer out a chapter of his novel. He says he have to accomplish all of these different tasks, be all these different people, at the same time, in the same place. He says he was no good at it on Facebook, and, as it turns out, he’s no good at it in real life, either.

However, in the grand scheme of things, he says these are small problems. He has relative job security at a time when tens of millions have lost their jobs. And, as his wife said when he explained the dilemma to her, “Welcome to the challenge of being a mom.”

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