Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

How Zoom Changed My Life

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 23rd October, 2020

Many of us are chomping at the bit because of limitations imposed on us because of coronavirus restrictions. Here in London we had a national lockdown during the months of Spring and from this week we are now in a Tier 2 half-way-house stage, as infections continue to rise. I doubt whether our collective mental health could survive another lengthy total shutdown, let alone the economy. But let us be thankful that technology has made home isolation more bearable. Even when we can’t meet people face-to-face we can chat via Skype or Facetime. Many meetings and events have gone virtual using platforms such as Zoom. Though there is certainly a risk of getting Zoomed out by video-conferencing if one has too many sessions in a day, the technology has delivered clear benefits. I find in meetings there is less time-wasting and it’s good to be able to see everyone’s face (if the number of participants doesn’t exceed the slots available on one screen). Screen-sharing is a more effective way of using illustrations and data than trying to focus on a powerpoint presentation the other end of a room. It doesn’t matter where participants are located, as long as they have access to a computer or even a smartphone. And webinars have made it possible to have expert panels drawn internationally. I find that the best Zoom events last just one hour, but that may just be my personal preference. Much longer and one’s attention starts to wander. Of course I miss the camaraderie of in-person get-togethers. They will return one day. But in the meantime let us acknowledge that our COVID-constrained lives could have been so much worse in the previously less-connected world.

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