Attending Zoom meetings is trivial

Our nonprofit just held our second annual "Gathering in the Park" where attendees spanned from our first graduating class in 2016 to current students graduating in two weeks. What I realized was that the physical distance mandates of the past two years really made me miss "seeing" and talking to some of the alums who couldn't attend our "standing by the watercooler" Zoom meetings. 

Although I truly believe that COVID-19 is entering the endemic stage, unlike the flu whose season recurs only once a year, the COVID-19 endemic seems to have multiple flare-ups during the year. To avoid postponing or having to cancel our 16-class "Discover Digital Literacy!" program in progress when public health officials declare physical distancing mandates again, last fall I adjusted our program's curriculum to cover "How to Zoom" earlier than later.

It is trivial to "zoom" – and yes, I'm using it as a verb like "google it"; it has entered our digital world lexicon, similar to saying "xerox it" instead of "make a photocopy" in the real world. As noted earlier in the year, you just need a device to attend a Zoom meeting – that's how trivial it is.

To "see," on top of talking and listening in a virtual meeting, you want a device that already has a selfie camera; usually a standard feature for smartphones, tablets, or most laptop computers including the very affordable Chromebooks. If your device is a desktop computer, you would want to invest in a "webcam" unless your desktop is an "all-in-one" device where the  monitor and computer are one piece instead of two separate components or your monitor component has an embedded camera.

On the app/software side requirement, the device you use only needs a "browser" (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari) installed. The good news is that one of the enumerated browsers above is pre-installed by the factory – how cool is that!

The only other ingredient is a Zoom invite that the meeting host sends through email, text, or a messaging app/software. Although the Zoom invite may contain a lot of information that can intimidate some, just simply scan for the words "Join Zoom Meeting" and a "link" – usually in blue color – that you can tap/click. Doing so will automatically start your browser. Also churches, for example, who may continue to offer in-person and virtual worship services even when COVID-19 becomes an endemic, may post the Zoom meeting link on their website.

Although you can zoom with no preparation other than the aforementioned prerequisites, Zoom does have its own app (smartphone, tablets) or software (Windows, Mac). As you tap/click the link and the browser opens the Zoom website, Zoom services will check to see if the app/software is installed. If not, it will step you through installing it the very first time.

Zoom away without intimidation or worries and be prepared for any physical distancing mandates without socially distancing!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.02.2022