… Sorry, about that I was muted. Speaking of Zoom, the actual term “zoom” angers me. Zoom used to be an expression for something that moves fast. Or what I tell my grandma Estelle to do when she can’t read her phone. But now all it means is poor resolution images of people that stress me out. Zoom conferencing used to be the unnecessary tab on your Canvas course page that made you ask, “when was I ever going to use that?” Now it's my saving grace at 9:29 am when I just get out the shower.
To make things worse, now I have legitimate fears of “Zoom bombing.” Each day when I open up Zoom and choose to make a new meeting, I have to decide whether I want to be like a dentist's office with a waiting room, or if I want to potentially see a stranger exposing themself on camera.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful; I appreciate the university paying for Zoom because it sucks when you don’t have Zoom and have to beg people to try the rudimentary platforms of FaceTime or Insta. One awful replacement for Zoom was Shindig. And please excuse my French, but Shindig was shit, you dig? Anyone who uses the term Shindig unironically is geriatric, unironically. I don’t know what was up with CAB fair, but let’s forget about Shindig… kinda like the university forgot about letting first-years on campus.
Something that is happening more and more on Zoom are hangouts, a way to keep a semblance of normalcy in our lives. I’ve been invited to Tombs nights (or the ever original “Zoombs” night), wine nights, play performances, stand up shows and I’ve had enough. Why try to emulate an in-person experience virtually? It's always going to fall short of expectations and end up killing your computer (and your soul) a little bit each time.
I know what you’re thinking: here comes this guy “trying to trash on my Zoombs night.” You’re wrong. Honestly, I applaud your ability to make an event that’s online so much like the real thing. I thought that the best way I could help is just suggesting more things people should try to simulate over Zoom.
A Common Room
You know what I mean, get on a Zoom call with people you don’t really know and just do whatever you usually would do: homework, cook, gossip, talk obnoxiously on the phone and ignore everyone else on the call. If you really want to be authentic, keep your sound on and private message a friend how weird you think some of the other people on the floor are… oh, yeah, and spill ramen on your keyboard so you mimic the smell.
A Zoom Room to Talk Junk about Shindig
I mean it will feel like CAB fair all over again! But seriously, fuck Shindig.
A Zoom Date
Ask that person you think is really hot in your seminar if they would want to go to a breakout room and chill. Then pull up a terrible Rom Com (Work It is streaming on Netflix) and poorly try to do a screen share and get your mac on. Keep interrupting each other and be awkward like you usually would and then at the end of the date debate who should leave the meeting first; it will be so dope.
Doing “The Nasty”
Say the date goes well and you want to take it to the next level. Though it may be complicated, try it out. Cut out some holes, put out some candles and turn your volume way up with that special someone who is hundreds of miles away. Don’t forget to oil your keyboard!
This may seem weird, but hear me out. Get like 20 of your friends one day when you want to study and then, when you get into the Zoom, whoever is in the top row has to be absolutely silent and muted, the next row can be a little bit louder, and this continues until the bottom row is the loudest. Now this may be difficult since everyone’s Zoom gallery view will be different, but the Lau system never worked anyway.
Robbing a Bank
Banks are all virtual anyway so just grab that ski mask you weren’t gonna use this year otherwise and hop on Zoom. Meet up with your secret hacking club and get crackin’ on some vault numbers. GUAFSCU might be a good start?
All jokes aside, we really aren't using Zoom to its full potential. We can move beyond just doing what we always did and do something more interesting and creative with Zoom. Personally, I’ve used Zoom to create optical illusion art. I’ve even used it to show my Grandma Estelle how to increase the font on her phone. I’ve done it all! Well, not “the nasty.” That would just be dangerous.
Gary Simons is a senior in the College studying Psychology, Computer Science, and Film and Media Studies.