Be a better Zoomer, here are 5 ways.
While this technology used to be for keeping us apart, now it’s the only thing holding us together.
As the world is turning to web conferencing during this global pandemic, we are all learning a few valuable lessons. Video relationships are awesome and connecting with friends, family, and work colleagues via the internet is not going terribly. I prefer actual human interaction but in a pinch and to avoid becoming a zombie I can deal. That being said, awkward Zoom bombs, poor tele-etiquette, and far too comfortable home offices are plaguing this world and I felt compelled to address the world’s failures. Here are my top 5 ways to be a better Zoomer.
Zoom Bombers are terrifying Grandmas across the world.
So imagine this, you’re a Grandma, it’s your first-time Zoomin’, and the sight of your grandkids is a much needed moment of joy in a sea of endless bad news. Just when you’ve begun to understand the technology, “BAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLSSSSSS!” is shouted over your grandson. This is the scenario across the world and the elderly of the world are terrified, presumably. Make sure you don’t just share your video chat login credentials everywhere. Especially if your grandma is on.
Tele-conferencing etiquette applies
I love the sound of 4 grown adults arguing over each other as much as the next guy but fortunately, the View is still on the air and we don’t have to recreate it in every web meeting we take part in. Listen. No one can hear you if you try and talk over someone. Without physical social cues, it’s nearly impossible for people to know when you want to talk. Collectively, we must hold hands and be patient with one another. If you’re talking, allow others to speak. If you’re waiting to speak, keep waiting until someone stops talking, and for the love of everything holy, mute your microphone if your dog is barking, kids are screaming, etc.. I will “End this meeting for all.” I swear to god.
Be the most, pick a host
I know it seems strange in a video conference with your family but, settle on a host. If you have an outgoing uncle with a taste for the arts, maybe make him the host. If you don’t have a flamboyant uncle than do it yourself. Having someone in charge means that you can make the experience better for everyone. A host can stick to an agenda and make sure your Uncle Remus doesn’t take up all of the time with his advice from InfoWars. A host can spotlight someone else, mute Uncle Remus, and find out how cousin Rhonda is handling her new home renovation.
Consider your background
If you haven’t ever considered what is behind you in your home office, consider it now. Wear pants, hang a picture, and clean your room. Or don’t. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me to know that you wear smiley face emoji boxers but I do think your regular social attire is more appropriate. The bottom line is your webcam view is visible to more people than ever. Consider what’s in view and what’s not.
Have Some Fun
While this technology used to be for keeping us apart, now it’s the only thing holding us together. If you used to be fun, have some fun. If you used to have drinks with your friends, have drinks with your friends. If your family used to get together for Easter, do it again. It’s on video but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It can be fun to have fun there too. Try an interesting background, I suggest embarrassing photos of your friends, maybe screenshots of Jessica’s ridiculous Facebook posts.
Video conferencing is awesome and I hope this forced immigration to internet communication will change the way we build and maintain relationships forever. I’ve spoken to my Grandparents and distant relatives more in the last few weeks than I have in the last couple of years combined. I’ve had business conversations with executives & potential clients that wouldn’t have even answered my call if not for video chats. There is plenty of people to meet and it’s never been easier to meet them. As long as we all agree together to create some new social standards to make video chatting more fun for everyone and if people don’t comply with these standards they should be shamed mercilessly from all of us upstanding Zoomers.