Internet Woes.

I’ve had it with Zoom.  It’s slow to connect, there’s no synchronisation, the sound’s poor and the heads that pop up on the screen are all at funny angles. If they look at the camera when they speak, that’s a blessing, but you have to take your eyes off your own screen to do that yourself. Forget body language – the nod, the yawn, the foot shuffle; you won’t see any of that. Even to get started there’s the code to remember, the login details, the name of the group you’re supposed to be zooming.

So you get it set up at the appointed hour, with the camera showing your pleasing profile in front of a tastefully stacked bookshelf, with not too much light coming through the curtains, but not too little either, and the webcam precariously balanced on a side shelf, next to the cold cup of tea you never drank, and you wait for the meeting to start. Is your microphone on? Can you hear the voice of the person or people you’re calling? Why is the volume so low? You twist the knob with the blue flashing light, and it becomes slightly louder. In desperation you reach for the earphones. The headset delivers clear perfect sound at the right volume. But now no-one else can hear your conversation, or rather they can hear yours but not the person on the other end. You press the Zoom bar, and it tells you it’s starting up.

Then it asks for a password for the meeting. Do you have one? You may have to scroll back through emails to find the one they sent you with the password in.

Suddenly eight mini screens appear with a face in each one. These are your friends. Supposed to be. But they look different. You want to greet one of them. ‘Mute your mike!’ is shouted in your ear. Your comments appear unheard.

One of them speaks and their picture fills the screen. You finally hear what they have to say. If you remember to unmute your mike you may even get to answer, but by this time you’re bored and tired of feeling inadequate.

One to one telephone conversations are better than this.

The missing body language of the other group members on Zoom leaves you, as participant, none the wiser. Communication is fractured, slow, dependent on erratic internet or broadband performance, technology failure, my ancient equipment.

Too much is missing. The smell of fear. The invisible cat interfering with the microphone in someone else’s living room. The group leader’s impatient foot tapping. We are all together on the screen, but we are all separate in our various homes. This is not ideal. Conclusions elude us; we remember or forget to mute or unmute our mikes, pictures held to the camera appear like large jellyfish swimming upwards in an inland sea. The camera still watches me from the corner.

I exit Zoom. I have a flashback to a childhood birthday party I couldn’t go to because I had measles. It’s to do with disappointment. There’s someone out there having fun, a fine time, conversations – but I’m not involved. It’s all out there, somewhere, and Zoom hasn’t helped me find it.

14 Responses

  1. Wilson Jake

    I heard zoom meeting gone wrong when meeting was hacked and porn movies was shown. One mistake zoom did was security, wasn’t well invested into.

  2. Prince

    There are alot of embarrassing zoom moments during this pandemic and that’s because it was widely used. This makes me understand that the more something is know and available, the more vulnerable it is.

  3. Eddy

    When zoom falls it can be a devastating moments putting a lot of people under pressure, because things must get back to normal.

  4. Roy

    This article is so relatable. I think you basically highlighted all the zoom fails.

  5. Meg W

    I am glad someone finally gets my point of view. Your zoom stories are very much similar to mine!

  6. Patricia

    A lovely summary of all those funny zoom bloopers. What an entertaining read this was!

  7. Oliver

    We have all made these zoom mistakes at one point or the other. It’s just part of the experience.

  8. Daphne

    This write up describes perfectly all the makings of a zoom meeting gone wrong. I couldn’t have described it better myself.

  9. Teddy

    I hate it when I experience embarrassing zoom moments. This is especially true when it happens in front of my colleagues.

  10. Louis

    I have personally had so many zoom fails in my time. It is a relief to see that I am not alone.

  11. Shantel

    It is zoom stories like these that made me stay away from the platform. Sometimes a simple phone conversation is better.

  12. Anderson

    Like you, I used to have many zoom mistakes when I was new to the platform. However, over time I have become so much better at using it.

  13. Storm

    Of my most embarrassing zoom moments, I’d say it was when I forgot to turn off my mic when arguing with my girlfriend. I have never really recovered from that ordeal lol

  14. Sylvia

    It is entertaining to read about the zoom fails that people have to deal with on a daily basis. I am lucky to never have to use Zoom it seems.

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