Now We All Zoom

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Zoom screen of Hamner Theatre Friends group

“Social distancing” has created a new loneliness in our lives. Changing our workplace, family lives, and schedules has been challenging. 

Many of us have never participated in online meetings from home and we’re learning all sorts of possibilities.

Live Videos of musicians with virtual Venmo tip-jars, birthday parties and other live streamed gatherings are increasing on Facebook for those with capacity. Google hangouts is also having a lot of new users. GoToMeeting was a recent host of a family reunion.   

There are several video chat apps out there. Which one to choose may depend on an account being properly encrypted when professional security is required. The New York Times reported that nearly 600,000 people downloaded Zoom in one day. Privacy concerns should be reviewed if a therapist or support groups are using the technology. Consumer Reports identifies some of the issues if the host of the meeting is not someone you know and trust. The Zoom meeting “host” has the power to record without your permission. A video recording can be shared on social media. Zoom has the feature for participants to click on a consent button that is off by default and must be clicked on by host.  If the meeting is being recorded, a small red button pops up along with the word “recording” in small type. But those indicators are easy for many participants to miss.

Another Consumer Reports tip is to click off the microphone if you are not speaking.  Also, you may click off the camera if you are not speaking and add a preferred background using a photo from your hard drive.  Having your private room in the background can reveal a lot of information about you that you may not intend to share. 

Fortunately for many, the new Firefly service (Gazette issue April 2019) has recently connected Nelson County residents with their neighbors. Books clubs, poetry reading, and adult learners are connecting via these different low-cost video technologies.

Cindy LaChance shared how Hamner Theater friends gathered together on Zoom to read The Importance of Being Earnest. “It wasn’t quite like being together in person but was surprisingly satisfying,” LaChance said. 

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