Thursday, June 25, 2020

Zoom Features I Wish I Could Apply to My Life

Before COVID-19, I had no idea how many things could be done virtually.

School, music lessons, church... my son's Gymnastic Ninja class has moved to Zoom, people.

I'll let that sink in.

At first I may have underestimated the power of Zoom, but now that I'm a believer here are 7 features of the videoconferencing app that I'd love to incorporate into my daily life:

1. Muting People

Nothing would revolutionize parenting more than the addition of a "mute participants" button. This is hands-down the #1 feature I would transfer from Zoom to my real life if I could.

Just think of it: no more stories about video games. No more plot summaries of animated movies that are longer than the actual movie.  No more made-up songs where 80% of the lyrics are the word "butt."

I'm getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about it.

2. Waiting Room

If life were a Zoom call and I was the host, I could send the participants to a waiting room until I was ready.

This would obviously be useful in a lot of situations, but probably most of all 5 AM when the kids are at my bedside trying to pry my eyelids open and asking for cereal.

I could also use a waiting room when they're literally lined up behind me waiting for help with tangled shoelaces, minor wounds, and errant mobile devices. Or when someone is going ballistic outside the bathroom door because I've been in there for 10 seconds and they need a cheese stick.

3. Change Your Background

Do you know what could really boost my morale when I'm hunched over the washing machine doing an infinity's worth of laundry? A change of scenery.

My neighbor sets her Zoom background to one of her latest vacation photos, and that sounds pretty good to me.

A white sand beach with some palm trees instead of a floor littered with sofa cushions and a pair of underwear someone tossed on the mantel three days ago would be a nice change of pace.

4. Turn Off Your Video

When I drop the kids off at school, fate ensures I don't see anyone on the mornings when I'm wearing real clothes and am reasonably well-groomed.

It's only when I look like Nick Nolte's mug shot that I have to get out of the car and end up trapped in a conversation about the upcoming PTA fundraiser.

What I wouldn't give for the "turn off video" option at moments like these. If I could've chosen for everyone not to see me looking like a bridge troll, I 100% would have.

5. Automatically Record a Meeting

In our family, we like to sit down with the kids for periodic family meetings. The meeting agenda goes like this: "Mom's about to lose her freaking mind and this is what you guys have to start doing ASAP unless you want me to drop you all off at the fire station."

The kids are contrite. Of course we'll start cleaning up after ourselves, Mother! Of course we'll help out more around the house! We had no idea we were causing you such distress. Never fear, our constant bickering will cease this instant! 

What I really need, though, is for those family meetings to be automatically recorded because 15 minutes later the kids have completely forgotten they ever happened.

6. Screen Sharing

During meetings with his coworkers, my husband finds it helpful to illustrate his points by sharing screenshots and diagrams. This is a feature I could really use with our kids, to be honest.

There are certain seemingly simple concepts that no amount of nagging, lecturing, or explaining can help them understand, like how to flush the toilet or stay seated in a chair during a meal. I think they need a visual.

Would it help if I could share an infographic on bathroom etiquette or the importance of not running around smearing peanut butter all over the house during lunch? I don't know for sure. But I'd love to be able to try.

7. Touch Up My Appearance

I recently learned there's a box on Zoom that says "touch up my appearance." When checked, it applies a skin-smoothing filter to your camera so you look better than you actually do.

I don't generally think of myself as a vain person, but I could totally use this feature in my real life. Especially during that postpartum period when you feel like a shapeless blob and have no time to sleep or shower. (FYI to new moms, this period lasts until your child is about 10 so you're in this for the long haul.)

—  —  —  

Everything is done through videoconferencing these days, and now that my favorite Zoom features have become such a big part of my life, it's easy to see places where I'd love to incorporate them offline.

Is that realistic or even possible? I'm not sure, but after this whole Coronavirus lockdown one thing is for sure: I wouldn't be surprised by anything anymore.

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PurpleSlob said...

I just saw a Ted talk by an Asian guy yesterday who has invented technology to make holographs of people. It was impossible to tell that his videos were fakes!!
That's what you need, right there! lol
I could use a lot of that too! Especially when DH is replaying E.V.E.R.Y
Ball he rolled in his bowling game. Probably about the same length as your children's recounting of that movie! lol
And the think where I would look groomed, and dressed, even though in reality I'm still in bed, and look like death warmed over! Yes, please!!

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

This is fantastic. Also, just the ‘leave meeting’ button is fantastic.