Illustration for article titled Potato Boss perfectly demonstrates the pitfalls of video conferencing
Photo: Laura Ciapponi (Getty Images)

There’s never been a moment in history more well-suited to the challenge of accommodating millions of people suddenly forced to work from home. We have unthinkable technological resources at our disposal: FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, a million other proprietary video conferencing technologies! And on several of them, you can even have some fun with video filters that turn your face into virtually anything you want. Or don’t want. Such as a potato. Please read on.


There are several reasons this tweet has almost a million likes. For one, the potato looks very sad. For another, this sad, un-potato-able potato boss perfectly encapsulates the frustrations that can arise when a whole economy unaccustomed to this virtual style of work is suddenly forced to learn it via crash-course when they wish they didn’t have to do it at all. The work must carry on, no matter how shitty your wifi connection or irreversible your video chat filters.


BuzzFeed News caught up with the Potato Boss herself, Lizet Ocampo, political director for People for the American Way. Ocampo is actually quite accustomed to video meetings, regularly scheduling virtual happy hours for community leaders as a form of outreach. But that’s exactly what precipitated the potato predicament: she had downloaded some fun filters for use at one of these virtual happy hours, and then couldn’t figure out how to remove them for her Monday morning business meeting. “I just kind of gave up and stayed as a potato for the rest of the call,” Ocampo told BuzzFeed. Bonus points for perseverance.

Once her coworker Rachele’s tweet about the incident blew up, Ocampo took to Twitter to confirm that she was just as amused as everyone else:

Potato Boss seems to have a great sense of her priorities. After seeing how much everyone enjoyed the tweet, she shared with BuzzFeed that she wants people to find a bright spot in their days, but that “I hope folks are really taking seriously to be safe and stay planted.”


Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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