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Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog) RSS feed

Zooming Through the Pandemic (How to and Why)

Updated 6-9-2021

 

MAKING THE MOST OF ZOOM: THE PRACTICAL BITS

assembled by Pat McNees
For 92 years my father buried his feelings. Then he started Zooming. (Laura Fraser, WaPo 2-5-21) Forced by a pandemic to live by video, a once distant dad unlocks his memories and emotions.
A free Zoom webinar. See also Zoom's security tips (bottom right) and their live training webinars (get your questions answered).

• You can use a smartphone to start a meeting but one drawback of zooming on a smartphone is that the gallery view seems to be 4 people max (one of them being you). "So for a function with more than 5-6 people you would be scrolling scrolling scrolling to see everyone." Another problem: the members who do not have internet service are also likely not to have a smartphone.
How Do I Join a Zoom Meeting? (YouTube, Geeks on Tour)
How to Join a Zoom Video Conference Using Your Phone (YouTube, Evgenii Permiakov)
Live Zoom training webinars (Zoom support)

• You can save money by buying a year's subscription ($149 as of 6-8-21)
Remote Interviewing Resources (Oral History Association, 8-27-2020) Many many useful pages. Remarkable and very helpful. See, for example, among many pages: Advice on oral history interviewing during the Covid-19 pandemic , or this decision tree or Considerations for Choosing an In-Person vs. Remote Interview. With useful sections on equipment, such as Recording platforms.
Four reasons you’re tired of Zoom calls — and what to do about it (Paulina Firozi and Allyson Chiu, WashPost, 3-3-21) A researcher from Stanford University found that the amount of close-up eye contact, the tendency to stare at our own faces (the constant self-evaluation), the lack of movement during the conversations, and the required mental effort increase the burdensome feeling now known as “Zoom fatigue.” Video chats also cut down on your ability to be mobile. On top of all that, participating in video calls may increase cognitive load, meaning more mental effort is needed.
A Memorial Service Celebrating Dr. Sandy Bienen (YouTube, 5-1-21) Sandy was one of my favorite writing students (in a workshop called  My Life, One Story at a Time) and getting to know him so recently made his Zoom memorial service important to all of us in that writing group. It gave us a glimpse into the parts of his life he hadn't written about, and a chance to say goodbye.
The Big Advantage of a Zoom Thanksgiving (Debbie Brodsky, 11-2020, of DMB Pictures) DMB "works with families to capture the stories of their loved ones on video so they will be remembered for generations to come." Read her Zoom Tips and Best Practices.


Video biographer Stefani Twyford's checklist of some things to consider when recording someone for a video biography:
---"Make sure to check in settings that dual audio is checked. It will give you two sound files that are separated which is easier for editing.
---You can Pin her video prior to recording so the recording doesn’t switch back and forth if you ask a question. You basically right click on the client’s video and pin is an option.
---Turn off any ceiling fans and air conditioner so that there’s no background noise popping up during recording
---Make sure that the client has a light behind their monitor so that their face is well lit. You can buy there nice soft ring lights to provide good lighting. If the light is behind the person, their face will be shadowed. If they need to read anything, rather than have it sit on their desk, I have learned to have them use a Word doc that is on screen so that they are looking at the camera while they read. Most interviews it’s not necessary but I just did one where we had to have the client give a speech and we wrote it out for her. It wasn’t ideal but it’s what we had to do."

Renee Garrick adds: If possible, raise the camera to eve level and angle it slightly downward to avoid a view under the chin and inside the nostrils. This angle also points the camera toward the wall instead of the ceiling. My large two-volume dictionary makes a sturdy base to hold my laptop. Also, if the interviewee is using a phone, a myriad of phone holders is available--but remember to set it high enough. A slight downward angle works best.
My video camera is not working (Zoom support)
My audio is not working on iOS or Android (Zoom)
Remote Interviewing for Zoom (Oral History Center, University of California at Berkeley)
Best practices for securing your virtual classroom (Ryan Gallagher, Zoom, 3-27-2020)
How to keep uninvited guests out of your Zoom event (Zoom, 3-20-2020)
Zoom Security (PDF, a Zoom white paper)
Zoom Encryption (PDF, a Zoom white paper)
How to Look Better on Zoom (YouTube, Goa Goodrich, 4-30-2020). How to light and angle your screen to look your best. (It's hard to hear at first, then suddenly gets more audible. Click on "skip ads" if ad persists.) See also How to light for glasses and How to Pose in Pictures (how to look taller and leaner), among other how-to-zoom videos.
Zoom Support How-to instructions during the coronavirus: video tutorials, on-demand training sessions, live daily demos, etc.)
Using Zoom? Take these steps to protect your privacy.(Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac, 3-31-2020)
Resources and Tips for Creating Virtual Events: Video Conferencing, Virtual Meeting, and Video Sharing Applications (American Booksellers Association, 3-25-2020) Invaluable, partly for links to downloadable PDFs for Virtual Story Time Guidelines from various publishing houses.
Zoom Help Center
Claude Kerno's excellent instructions for using Zoom: Installing it, Using it
Best Practices for Hosting a Digital Event (Zoom)
How to Be an Inclusive Leader (Ruchika Tulshyan, Harvard Business Review, 4-10-2020) "Begin meetings with acknowledging everyone in the room, not just those with high status or privilege....When I do these check-ins, I notice that more students speak up during the rest of the class, whether it’s virtual or in person."
How we organized one of the largest virtual U.S. journalism events to date(Stefanie Murray and Joe Amditis, Center for Cooperative Media, Medium, 5-20-2020) We wanted to make sure we kept some of the Collaborative Journalism Summit’s personal hallmarks without turning it into a one-way broadcast. We alerted our sponsors, speakers and participants as soon as we could — then we made registration free. And once we announced we would host in place instead of in person, registrations shot through the roof; we ended up with just under 750 registrations by the time the conference began. (Typically, the Summit attracts 150–175 people.) Zoom was the leading early contender for a platform choice, because it was the program most people were using for video conferencing and because it was the one the Center used. But we also explored other options, including Twitch, Google Hangouts, and YouTube Live. We didn’t look too closely at Blue Jeans, GoToMeeting, Livestream, or Microsoft Teams, which are a few of the more popular options out there.
Virtual Book Launch Events: 8 Ideas from Authors (Diana Urban, BookBub, 4-30-2020) Here are 8 popular platforms (mostly social media sites: Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Zoom Webinar, Twitch Livestream, Prerecorded Videos, Twitter Chat, Reddit AMA) where you can host a virtual book event, with examples.
New to Working from Home? Here Are Some Tips to Help You Meet Like a Pro (Esther Yoon, Zoom, 3-9-2020)

•  7 Tactics for Building Presence and Connection via Zoom (Mark Bowden)
Embracing and Securing a Remote Workforce (CrowdStrike) Cybersecurity resources.
Every Type of Zoom Call Participant, Illustrated by Cats (Jack Shepherd, Tenderly/Medium, 5-18-2020) Which one are you? The one who's too close to the camera? The one who refuses to use video but has the most glamorous headshot? The one with the wacky background? The one who's busy with something else? The one who can't get the camera placement right?
An Introduction to Zoom for Teachers (Nicole Rose Whitaker and Susan Shapiro, New Yorker, 4-10-2020) Hosting it, and so on.
Zoom: Live Stream to YouTube or a Custom Streaming Service
Getting Started on Windows and Mac (Zoom Help Center)
Now that everyone's using Zoom, here are some privacy risks you need to watch out for (Rae Hodge, CNet, 1-1-2020)

We live in Zoom now. Zoom is where we go to school, party, and socialize (Taylor Lorenz, Erin Griffith and Mike Isaac, NY Times, 3-17-2020)
A virtual funeral changes perspective (Jack ElHai, Medium, 4-13-2020) "I recently attended a virtual funeral broadcast with Zoom, and the result was that I felt distant from the deceased but close to my fellow mourners."
The Great Zoom-School Experiment (Lizzie Widdicombe, New Yorker, 4-2-2020) With schools closed, some students are transitioning to remote learning, and some parents to home-school instruction and technical assistance. “The teachers were afraid that the kids were not going to coöperate, and they wouldn’t be able to manage a virtual classroom.” But Micaela Bracamonte, the founder and head of the Lang School, insisted that they try it. All across the world, students and parents are involved in a vast cyber-education experiment.

• A friend who is a fiber artist praised Zoom hand spinning workshops hosted by the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. " I learned two skills that had eluded me in both in-person and online workshops. I think the teachers have been teaching online now for so long that they have worked out ways to use the camera and words that made this possible."
Four reasons you’re tired of Zoom calls — and what to do about it (Paulina Firozi and Allyson Chiu, WashPost, 3-3-21) A researcher from Stanford University found that the amount of close-up eye contact, the tendency to stare at our own faces (the constant self-evaluation), the lack of movement during the conversations, and the required mental effort increase the burdensome feeling now known as “Zoom fatigue.” Video chats also cut down on your ability to be mobile. On top of all that, participating in video calls may increase cognitive load, meaning more mental effort is needed.

 

ZOOM'S PRIVACY PROBLEM
Why Zoom became so popular (Ashley Carman, The Verge, 4-3-2020) Its selling points also introduce privacy and security risks
Forget Facebook: Zoom is the tech industry’s newest problem child (Ainsley Harris, Fast Company, 3-31-20) " But there is a dark underside to this company. It has a child abuse problem. And a porn problem. And a privacy problem. Does anyone care? Federal prosecutor Austin Berry referred to Zoom as “the Netflix of child pornography” in his closing remarks, according to The New York Times....“Zoom really has no serious value if it doesn’t protect personal privacy,” Doc Searls, an author and research director at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, wrote in a blog post. “That’s why they need to fix this.”
New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom’s Privacy Practices (Danny Hakim and Natasha Singer, NY Times, 3-30-2020) As the videoconferencing platform’s popularity has surged, Zoom has scrambled to address a series of data privacy and security problems.
‘Zoom is malware’: why experts worry about the video conferencing platform (Kari Paul, The Guardian, 4-2-2020) The company has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic in the past month, but security researchers say the app is a ‘privacy disaster’

 

Check out

ALTERNATIVES FOR HOSTING VIRTUAL VIDEO GATHERINGS
---Web Conferencing Pricing Comparison (Trust Radius, 10-5-2020) Prices compared for Zoom, GoToMeeting, JoinMe, Webex Meetings, Microsoft Teams.
---Blue Jeans Host and manage live interactive events, town halls and webcasts for large audiences around the world.
---Cisco Webex Meetings
---Crowdcast
---Duo (Google's consumer version of video calling)
---Facebook Live
---GlobalMeet Collaboration (1-866-755-4878)
---GoToMeeting (LogMeIn)
---Hangouts Meet (aka Google Meet, geared toward business use)
---Houseparty (a face to face social network: “Where being together is as easy as showing up” — a cross-platform video chat app)
---LifeSize (high definition videoconferencing)
---Livestream Deliver unforgettable virtual events and conferences. Securely engage your workforce remotely. Monetize your global audience.
---Microsoft Teams
---Skype (Microsoft) Host a video meeting in one click. Video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches over the Internet. Requires third party recording software to stream.
---Twitch Not just for gamers.
---Wet InkAsynchronous classes, online, with written participation
---WhatsApp (Facebook, the default messaging service in Europe for small groups--four people max)
---YouTube Live (Google owns YouTube)
---Zoho Meeting
Zoom: Live Stream to YouTube or a Custom Streaming Service (IT, University of Minnesota)
Zoom Sharply Reduces Its Content Restrictions for Academic Institutions (Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, 4-14-21)

 

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WEIGHING THE ALTERNATIVES to Zoom
How to Keep Your Zoom Chats Private and Secure (David Nield, Wired, 4-5-2020) Trolls. Prying bosses. Zoom's a great video chat platform, but a few simple steps also make it a safe one. Nield also explains pros and cons of alternative video chat platforms Google Duo, Facetime (for Apple devices only), Webex (Cisco), GoToMeeting, plus software without full end-to-end encryption. Skype, Slack, and Facebook Messenger. These instructions may help us relax about Zoom's insecurities. (H/T Jeanne Bohlen)
Youtube Live vs Facebook Live Compared to Online Video Platforms How do the various systems compare?
Not sold on Zoom? Here are the 8 best Zoom alternatives to consider.. (Mitja Rutnik @MRutnik, The Best, Android Authority, 3-26-2020)
5 Zoom alternatives to keep you connected during COVID-19 crisis (Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac, 4-2-2020)
Video Conferencing Software Showdown: Zoom vs. GoToMeeting.(Heather Mandel, Zapier, 2-01-19) "If you're just starting out or are a small-to-medium-sized business that only needs to accommodate up to 100 participants, Zoom can provide you with a fully-featured video conferencing solution for a lower price—or even no price depending on your needs. But if you're a larger organization that regularly needs to accommodate 150 to 250 attendees and can benefit from unlimited cloud storage and a no-minimum-host requirement, GoToMeeting may end up being a better value for you."
Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: Which Platform is Better for Your Organization.(Unify Square)
Zoom vs. Microsoft Teams vs. Google Meet: Which Top Videoconferencing App Is Best? (Gadjo Sevilla, PC Mag, 4-15-2020) How three of the top contenders stack up.
Google Puts Zoom in Its Crosshairs (Michael Figueroa, Marker/Medium, 4-30-2020) As security issues plague Zoom, Google’s rapid response threatens to topple Zoom’s position as the king of videoconferencing apps. Zoom’s popularity exploded as people around the world were forced to shelter in place and sought solutions to virtually engage with co-workers, classrooms, families, and friends. By offering a free plan that anyone can sign up for and a group-friendly, high-definition interface that has proven resilient despite its sudden growth in usage, daily active users on Zoom leaped from 10 million to over 300 million in just five months. But Google is now hot on its heels. See

 

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ZOOM THE INVESTMENT
Social Distancing Is Helping This Billionaire Ride Out the Market Rout (Devon Pendleton, Bloomberg, 3-16-2020) Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom Video Communications Inc., added $20 million to his net worth Monday while the S&P 500 plunged 12% -- worst day for stocks since 1987. See also Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! The Exclusive Inside Story off the New Billionaire Behind Tech’s Hottest IPO (Alex Konrad, Forbes, 4-19-19)
Zoom’s Fatal Flaw (Sameer Singh, Marker/Medium, 4-20-2020) In exchange for viral growth, the video conferencing startup left itself open to copycat competitors. Zoom’s business model is often conflated with Slack even though they are distinct products.

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