Eric Yuan is a benefactor of the human race.
Who is Eric Yuan, you ask?
He is the inventor of the videoconferencing software app that we all know and love as Zoom.
Where would we be today without Zoom? In a world where many or most of us are sitting at home because there is a disease called COVID-19 running around everywhere, the ability to attend a meeting, a class, an exercise session, or a seminar without having to leave the living room or take a shower is a blessing. And let’s face it, for many of us who are not working from home, Zoom meetings break up the monotony and boredom of being at home in PJs with little to do except order stuff on Amazon, play on Facebook or Instagram, or clean the house.
Getting ready for a Zoom session involves some planning. The chances are that all that the other participants will see of you will be from the waist up most of the time. In those cases, you can put on a shirt or a blouse over a pair of PJ bottoms, and nobody will know the difference. If you are truly adventurous, you can wear a shirt or a blouse over your underwear and hope the camera won’t catch your bare legs. However, this practice is not recommended because you could stand up, drop your device, or whatever, and end up with a whole Zoom meeting full of people knowing what kind of underwear you wear.
If you are the “host” of a Zoom session, you’re out of luck. You will be completely visible, as well as most of the room behind you. If you haven’t cleaned the room, it will be evident to every participant. So tidy up the space before you let the others see it, and put on your street or office clothes.
Hair is another concern. If you are a woman, and you haven’t been to the hairdresser since the beginning of the pandemic, nobody will blame you if you brush your hair and tie the mess back with a scrunchie. If you are a man, let’s hope someone has cut your hair recently, and it hasn’t grown exponentially. At any rate, nobody will expect you to look like you just came from a salon or a barbershop, so if your hair looks like that of a hippie from the 70s, it’s okay.
Nobody will know if you have had a shower or not. If you haven’t showered in a week, it’s your little secret.
Getting onto a Zoom meeting requires a learning curve, especially if you are the “host” and it’s your job to bring everyone in. Suppose you are not computer savvy and get easily confused by any instructions. In that case, you’d better have your ten-year-old IT genius nephew with you if you don’t want any problems with disgruntled participants wondering what the hell is happening.
Once everyone is settled and brought into the proceedings, one thing becomes apparent. Everyone else looks as bad as you do. Everyone, that is, except one or two people who somehow manage to look neat. These people make everyone else look even worse than they do. There’s bound to be one in every group. We hope their computers crash in the middle of the session. It would serve them right.
There is usually a settling-in period at the beginning of each Zoom session, with people joining late and everyone being told to “mute yourself” so that nobody will have to hear phones ringing, dogs barking, kids yelling, and any other background noises. A savvy host will be able to mute everyone themself and save the rest of us the trouble of remembering to do it. The problem with muting yourself is that if you want to say something during the session, you have to remember to “unmute” yourself. This can be confusing to people who have been muted by the host without knowing it or people who can’t remember where they put their keys, let alone how to click on an icon during a Zoom meeting.
As you can see, there is some learning involved in using Zoom. However, let’s remember that, back in the olden days, people had to get used to telephones, radios, televisions, and other newfangled gadgetry. We can’t escape having to learn new technologies, either. It’s part of being human.