Zoom meetings are a poor substitute for in-person meetings and a worse one for phone calls

When we went remote I bought a few packs of these and sent them out to all my team members. It take literally 3 sec to stick it on your laptop and literally less than one to slide it closed.

This article and its posting is literally a fine example of why we cannot have nice things.

forgot the link…

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I’ve grown to appreciate video: lots of sardonic coworkers (and self), and seeing expression really helps with understanding, but also helping the speaker feel confident that they will be understood.

In any event video conferencing is always better than phone, but screen sharing make it better than in person meetings.

The clicks.


That would be difficult to make fly in Ireland. Being on camera would be more of a class contract maybe. Tenancy is so fucked here that as I said it would be hard to enforce everyone in spaces they can turn the camera on.


Completely agree as long as 1) you ensure folks are participating with video because they’re comfortable doing so, and 2) don’t make it mandatory - sometimes people just want to not be stared at. :slight_smile:


Its become the only viable substitute for court conferences and depositions right now.

Interestingly, the New York Courts have officially made videoconferencing mandatory for certain functions. From a case involving Madonna and struggles with her Manhattan co-op board.


Students? Professional? What? Quoi? Comment? What?

If you can’t adopt ludicrous fashions, hairstyles, and political stances as a student, when can you?


This is amazing and reminds me of one of my favorite podcasts.
If you haven’t heard it, you might enjoy:


Are we at the point where Zoom meeting is now just the slang term for all teleconferencing even if by Skype or Microsoft Teams?


I think so. It’s the scotch tape of transparent adhesives, the iPhone of smart phones, the kleenex of facial tissues. The (if your from the southeast US) coke of branded soda pops. :wink:


Screensharing is definitely the “killer feature” of Zoom and similar. I can take or leave seeing my colleagues, but in science at least a voice phone call can’t work; we need to see data and analysis.


Exactly. When I was an undergrad I understood it as a major goal to express myself by conforming to the fashions of the group with whom I’d chosen to affiliate (think toned-down version of A Flock of Seagulls).


Those can lead to a broken macbook screen. They are better for desktop all in ones than laptops.

A nice set of thin, removable camera cover stickers are probably safe for macbook pro laptops, though…

But photo sharing, rather than your whole screen, is awkward, or was last time I tried it.

It’s great that you work with people who have all agreed not to use the video feature. This is not a universal experience.

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This sounds horrible but I have not once experienced that and I have done a lot of video meetings. Sometimes people ask anyone who isn’t presenting or talking to turn off their video hoping it will improve the connection quality but nobody has ever requested me (or anyone else) to turn on their video. And its pretty normal even when people have video on to turn it off for a few minutes – whether that is because they want to walk away for a minute or just to pick their nose, nobody cares.

I actually don’t like work from home for a lot of reasons, but zoom being worse than in person meetings isn’t really one of them.

Jesus. Like half the meetings I am in, someone has a child or dog or cat walk by or shouting. Everyone understands its no big deal. If someone has a lot of background noise going continuously, its reasonable to ask them to mute while they aren’t talking. For people who are self conscious, most of these platforms have custom backgrounds or background blurring.

Are those people assholes at in-person meetings too?


If you happened to be looking for the most worst option, please don’t forget to check out WebEx.


I don’t get it why organizations still use Zoom. MS Teams (or, to a lesser extent Webex Teams) is much more powerful, because it gives you focused chat channels on top op conferencing, which actually reduces the need for conferencing, so people get more done. Plus they integrate with tons of other apps, so that everything you need is at your fingertips.

And yes, you can use those to call people outside your org.

100% this, if you want to get anything done together, video is mostly in the way, you need a shared workspace.

We only use video where it matters, e.g. for peer feedback, or to check in with other people to see how they’re doing. But in these cases it’s mostly about the people, and not about working.

Unless you have something that allows for collaborative editing, because that’s where the real fun starts. I haven’t used screen sharing in months, and I don’t miss it at all, since we have things like Miro and Confluence.

It may very well be the slang term for the clueless, who don’t see the difference.

If you have a screen with a border, they’re no problem at all. But you can also just use black masking tape, that’s reusable.

Being bothered by a crying child or a pet wandering past the camera is highly unprofessional, and a sure sign of an asshat. Just my $0.02

In the first week of the “lockdown” most of our teams “discovered” the simple rule that if you’re in a meeting with more than 2 other people, when you don’t talk, you mute your mic, regardless of circumstances. Becomes a habit very fast, and is incredibly helpful, because even sudden noises are no longer an interruption.

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I absolutely had to think of Nightvale when reading that comment.

But maybe it’s just the Sheriff’s Secret Police that makes me believe that. Never mind. All is fine. I will be at the monolith in the dog park.

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We’ve dropped webex now, in favor of teams. Still using slack. Before the lockdown I was interacting with my co-workers over those tools from our office. Now in the lockdown I am doing same, but from home. And the company is seeing productivity improvements, and looking at closing offices. I know of one co-worker who is moving to a coastal resort area, on the assumption that his work will be remote from now on.

Day to day comms are with slack for casual chat and some calls. Teams for more official stuff and zoom for after work social catch ups.

I will be weeping in the diner, trying not to utter the name of the obelisk.