At this point in the time of COVID-19, nearly everyone has experienced Zoom. Whether for school, for work, or simply to stay in touch with friends, Zoom has you covered. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Zoom is like group FaceTime for professional and academic use. It also hosts webinars and essentially makes you feel like you never really left the classroom or your office.
Zoom has lots of different features that can be tough to figure out, and as much as Zoom has saved most of us from complete isolation, there are still many people unaccostumed to computer communication. Outlined below are the five types of people you should look out for on your next Zoom call.
This is the person who likes to make good use of their time while on a Zoom call. The rest of the people in the meeting probably have no problem with this... unless The Multitasker forgets to click "mute". Maybe you're listening in on a meeting when all of a sudden you hear some water running in the background. Restroom breaks are totally fine during long meetings, but they should probably turn their mic off, right? Or maybe The Multitasker's background sounds like they're right in the middle of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If you're a host, you can mute other people, but otherwise it can get pretty frustrating. Try sending The Multitasker a quick private chat to let them know their microphone is amplifying their at-home situation, and as cute as their dog may be, we really don't need to all hear his yippy bark.
The Business Casual
Casual Fridays have turned into Casual Every Days recently, and most of us probably aren't getting dressed up just to stare at a computer screen for an hour and a half. Showing up to a Zoom call with pajamas–or without them–is totally fine. Just double check that your camera's off.
We've probably all experienced that one person who is trying to keep face-to-face communication alive, yet they don't realize it. Sitting in front of a camera in embarrassing (or nonexistent) attire without knowing is arguably worse than knowing you are drawing attention, so maybe shoot The Business Casual a quick text to let them know their camera icon should probably have a red slash through it at this moment.
The Poor Connector
People cutting in and out of a call, or being the person who is cutting in and out can be really annoying. It can happen to any of us given the overload on our wifi these days. Whether you're the person trying to understand a malfunctioning microphone or if you're the person yelling into said microphone, it's never easy. We've all experienced The Poor Connector, who just can't get their electronics together.
This person really reminds us of our social distancing struggles. Just remember, it's not them... it's their wifi. And should the moment arise when you find yourself to be The Poor Connector, just remember to take a deep breath and scream as loud as you can into your mic because odds are, the people on the call will only hear a second of it.
The Tech (un)Savvy
As user-friendly as Zoom is, it can be pretty hard to use without some knowledge of technology. This is where The Tech (un)Savvy gets to show off their skills... or lack thereof. Unfortunately, this type of Zoom caller is at the most disadvantage. Whether it's working the chat box or figuring out how to get a full screen, this person just can't do it.
So how can we help them out? Make sure they aren't the one running the meeting, and if it has to be them, stay cool. The meeting may take a little extra longer, so make sure they've got the upgraded Zoom membership becuase the 40 minute maximum just won't cut it for The Tech (un)Savvy.
Finally, we have the person unlike any of the aforementioned Zoom callers. Who knows what they're doing? That's the mystery. This type of person remains muted the whole meeting, with their camera off and no activity in the chat bar. The Ghost is just like their namesake: you're pretty sure they're here, you just don't have any proof.
Sometimes it feels like we'd all like to be The Ghost, but the purpose of Zoom is to bring us all together, not to creep on the people who are actively engaging in the conversation.
Zoom Callers in the Real World
One day, this pandemic will end. We may not know exactly when, but once we are all back out in public, these Zoom personality types will not go away. Out in the real world, see if you can spot these personalities when out at a cafe or a party.
Although the amount of Zoom calls made by The Multitasker may be diminished, the post-pandemic version of The Multitasker will make an appearance at your local coffee shop. You'll be able to tell it's them when you hear their phone call from across the room, or when they play their videos out loud, completely forgetting to connect their headphones. Sometimes, all that can be done is just putting in your ear buds and getting back to your cup of joe.
Have you ever had that dream where you show up to school in your underwear? The Business Casual has, and they may have even lived it to some degree. When classes resume and there are people milling around campus or rushing through the halls, look out for the person with toilet paper stuck to their foot, or showing up to holiday dinners in sweats.
The Business Casual is not purposely trying to sabotage their outfit, it just kinda happens. Next time you see them around, it would be pretty cool of you to tell The Business Casual that there's an inconveniently-placed hole in their jeans.
One-on-one video chatting is the ultimate way to stay in touch long-distance, social distancing aside. The issues that The Poor Connector faces are not going away, unfortunately. Out in the real world, they have an easy tell: fuzzy images and broken-up speech.
Trying to get in touch with The Poor Connector can be a real pain, but assuming they do receive your texts, going on FaceTime is not a whole lot more pleasant. It involves a lot of "what was that?" and "hold on, let me check my wifi". As frustrating as that can be, keeping up with long-distance friendships is really important, so take a deep breath and do your best to stay in touch with a good friend, even if they happen to be The Poor Connector.
The Tech (un)Savvy can make an appearance anywhere, but you most likely will see them at the grocery store, struggling to pull up their coupons on the store's app. Maybe you can even spot them earlier in your trip, when the shopping list they conveniently keep on their phone has somehow deleted itself.
The Tech (un)Savvy should probably stay away from self-checkout, to say the least. In a time of constant technological change, it can be hard for people like The Tech (un)Savvy to keep up, but let's give them a big thumbs up for trying.
We are conclusively brought to the final Zoom personality type, the one easily distinguishable at parties and other large social gatherings. You will probably find the ghost sitting by themselves, quietly on their phone and not making any eye contact. Just like on a Zoom call, it's easy to get lost in all the noise and the overwhelming number of people in one space.
Being shy is nothing to be ashamed of, and if The Ghost does find themselves at a party, they should try going with friends they know or branching out a little to make some new ones. If you find you resemble The Ghost's personality, maybe opt for a quiet night in or a small hangout with close friends.
The world is full of people diverse in exerience and perspective, so make sure to give each type of Zoom caller a chance. The social distancing era will end at some point, and our lives will return to (semi) normal. Hang in there, and remember we're all in this together.