As literally lifesaving as Zoom calls have been for millions of us this past year, Zoom calls still feel weird sometimes. We can also wind up with Zoom fatigue after too many calls. There are those relatives, friends and colleagues who hate the calls — fear them — so much so, they almost never get online. They cave only when their employer has demanded their presence, along with 25 to 200+ co-workers.
We Have Luddites
It’s been surprising how few people from church join us every Sunday or on an evening call during the week. The rest of us are craving social contact, to see the people we know and mostly love. I’ve heard people assert that you can’t possibly feel the Holy Spirit on a Zoom call. The rebuttal to that is: YES, YOU CAN! You invite the Holy Spirit to be present by asking someone to give the opening prayer and he’s right there.
If you’ve gone off the rails during COVID-19 and aren’t living quite the way you should be, the Holy Spirit will remind you, rather forcefully sometimes, that you need to get back on board. You need all the spiritual help and protection you can get to cope with the spreading insanity and chaos all around us.
What’s Not to Like Exactly?
Do I have the right to dislike Zoom calls myself, especially when I have four or five Zoom webinars a day, each lasting 60 to 90+ minutes? With wireless headphones, I can at least get up and walk around when there’s an opportunity. For the most part, I’m the one who chose to register and participate in the first place, so I can’t blame anyone else, other than the person who let the coronavirus run amok in the first place! But let’s not ruin the article.
Sometimes an organization will decide to do a Facebook get-together instead. Google Hangouts will be turned off very soon or by early 2021, to be replaced by Google Voice. Skype is still available. Regardless, I can’t complain. A large part of getting ahead in life or being accepted is showing up when you’re supposed to.
Technical glitches with Zoom can be few or many, depending largely on external situations you can’t do much about. You learn to roll with them, go with the flow, and realize it’s a blessing of its own kind to be able to keep up with the crowd – friends, family, work team, scripture study class, mental health support group, or even physical fitness. Coaches have definitely become creative!
If You Don’t Like Being Stared At
You can always leave your video turned off in Zoom, unless you’re ordered to turn it on by a control freak host. Having all those pairs of eyes staring at you can be unnerving for some people (or you might not want anyone to realize you’re sick). And I understand that completely: it’s like having to give a speech in public, even when the audience is friendly; sometimes, there are strangers in the bunch; sometimes, the CEO or the Pastor is breathing down your neck, literally.
The truth, however, is that most attendees are looking at themselves!
- How bad does my shaggy hair look when the salons have been closed for 6 months due to Covid?
- It’s so early yet. Can they tell I haven’t brushed my teeth?
- My double-chin looks worse than ever.
- Why did I wear this old, baggy shirt?
- They can’t see I’m wearing my suit jacket over my pj’s, can they?
- They’d better not ask us to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. If they do, I’m dead meat in this cockamamie outfit.
Filters in the paid version of Zoom can improve your appearance, if not tweaked to the extreme. How thick do you want your eyebrows to be? How orange do you want your face to look? But filters can’t fix clothing that might be a little too casual for the meeting, in spite of the many emergencies we handle daily.
Are They Actually Staring at You?
Can you tell if someone really is staring at you, at least when they’re not multi-tasking? That’s tricky. Maybe if there’s only three or four of you?
I’ve heard you can pin someone’s image (called a video) to your screen while in Zoom. Hmm. That seems quite rude, unless the host just wants the members of a panel to be visible. Waving is usually interpreted as saying Hi! to everyone unless you’ve prearranged a secret signal with someone else.
On some calls, you can select a participant and private message them. But on many webinars, I haven’t even been able to see how many attendees are present. Some hosts are more rigid than others; they want you focused on them or the presenter. Period. All of the above is covered well in the Zoom tutorials. It just takes a little reading to find them. Overall, I’m very grateful for this technology, even with its bugs. It’s a great blessing to be able to keep in touch with those we know, like and respect. And it saves our sanity when we can’t even go to the homes of those we have loved and still do. Who would have thought technology could do all that?