A (Zoom) Room of One’s Own

Darcy has a 10 AM coffee with her best friend, after which she’ll see her doctor for a quick consultation. At 2 PM, she’s giving a report to the team at work. Then, at 6 PM, she’ll be on her mat stretching those muscles and feeling the burn of advanced Pilates.
Is Darcy afraid of contracting COVID-19?
Not at all. In fact, she won’t even leave her home for one minute. She’s got a full day of social, work, and health commitments right at her fingertips — no mask required.
Darcy’s discovered Zoom.
Zoom is a company whose titular video conference software helping 300 million people stay connected while staying put. That’s up 50 percent from the 200 million daily users the company reported this past May and a cosmic leap beyond the 10 million mainly business professionals registered in pre-pandemic December 2019.
Darcy, however, isn’t particularly tech-savvy. Zoom is simple enough that anyone with a computer or smart phone can join a meeting or host their own.
You just go to the website, make an account, download the software, and give your attendees the ID and password to your virtual meeting. You can schedule a recurring meeting or invite someone to chat one time. Once you register, you own the room indefinitely.
And, best of all, it’s free!
If you keep your meetings less than 40 minutes, you can host up to 100 people. One-on-one meetings have no time limitations, at all. Users requiring more than 40 minutes per meeting can pay a monthly subscription fee.
Zoom’s “Gallery View” displays everyone in the meeting like the opening of The Brady Bunch, or Hollywood Squares. “Speaker View” automatically displays a close-up of the person currently speaking. You’ll enjoy Zoom’s high-quality sound and clarity compared to FaceTime. Privacy and security are password-protected, and a waiting room allows the host to control admittance.

Why Zoom Is Booming

People are going stir-crazy during this seemingly endless lockdown, especially those who live alone.
Instead of bingeing shows on Netflix, why not use this time to safely connect with friends and loved ones?
This autumn, many teachers will instruct their students virtually. Already, employees work remotely and many doctors meet with patients via Zoom.
And for everyone who is missing out being with friends for a casual drink, gather around the computer for a virtual happy hour with a craft cocktail or glass of wine and good conversation.
There are even special groups meeting on Zoom, featuring such activities as:
Cleaning house. Every day, a group of about 40 people sign in to declutter their homes together. A lady in Jerusalem boxes up art books while a cook in Minnesota donates outmoded mixers. All the while, thetidytutor.com keeps the group working like a tight sewing bee.
Staying clean and sober. Find a 12-step group for recovering alcoholics, which meet every day, around the clock, for discussions and speaker meetings. aa-intergroup.org/oiaa/meetings/
Sweeping her off her feet. My friends Peter and Wendy had a Zoom wedding in the town hall in upstate New York, followed by a virtual reception for 40 people. Wedly.com, the online wedding service, can explain exactly how this works.
For information, tutorials, and tips to get started, visit zoom.us.
Now you, too, can have a Zoom of your own! 

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