After several days of staying home to social distance, I began to really miss my pre-COVID-19 life—occasional lunch with friends, haircuts, grocery shopping, library time, exercise classes, grandkids’ sport games, friends and family, social and business meetings, church services, work, and every other social outlet I had.
Besides connecting with family and friends after bulk messaging on LinkedIn, email, or other social media platforms and calling via phone, Skype, I needed something more to bring my social groups together. I began to look for and learn about various online video conferencing options or a way to socialize virtually from the safety of my home. There are several options available offering both free and subscription services. Some that I researched included GoToMeetings, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and ZOOM. As with any service there are pluses and minuses to consider. After much consideration, I chose to try ZOOM. Besides being a very popular platform, ZOOM has great video support to aid one in using the medium. Almost overnight, I became a Zoomer!
After downloading the application and learning the basics of how to use it, I asked a friend to try it with me. Once we were successful, we asked our husbands to try it with us to enlarge our audience. Again with success, I was ready to try hosting a group meeting with friends with minimal computer skills who agreed to be my test group. A meeting was scheduled and the chosen friends were invited. Everyone successfully made it into the meeting via their computer or tablet! And what a good time we had seeing each other’s face, hearing each other’s voice, and visiting as if we were in a room together.
Businesses and educational institutions have used virtual meetings for sometime which allows workers to telecommute, save on travel, connect to people around the world, educate, and keep teams together. For those of us not in that world, virtual meetings serve a way to humanize our conversations. A video is a moving picture in contrast to phone or email communication. Seeing someone while talking to them completely changes the nomenclature of a conversation and is highly important to human interaction.
It is not my intention to promote ZOOM or any other product, but simply to raise awareness to the options we have today to stay connected in a time of social distancing. We are social beings and we need to find our own ways to continue our pre-COVID-19 life while maintaining our own safety until such time that we are free once again to enjoy in-person contacts. So whether it be any of the virtual meeting options I looked into or Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Apple FaceTime, Marco Polo, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or any others, the bottom line is to find the best way to stay connected. Doing so will keep us happy and in turn, healthy!
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