Right now, with social distancing in full effect, people are desperate to find ways to interact with friends and family. A big method for this communication is Zoom; Zoom is a video conferencing service that offers group chats through a cloud-based service for up to 100 participants at a time.
Why I haven’t been using Zoom
I haven’t been using zoom during this quarantine, and there isn’t necessarily a specific reason for this, it’s just more or a less a product of how I operate. I normally always jump on bandwagons late because I never want to be apart of the initial rush towards something, and sometimes I regret this, and sometimes I don’t. For example, I put off starting breaking bad until the end of its fourth season, and when I finally did jump in, I realized that I had been missing put for all those years. Now was this also a good decision because I didn’t have to wait year after year for a new season? Yeah, probably, but the point is, I normally try to wait before hopping on trends… accept for Tiger King.
And while there are a bunch of questions surrounding Zoom and the safety of using it, those factors aren’t exactly why I haven’t used the service. I’ve seen that Zoom will be unable to handle all of this new data intake, meaning that a lot of its user’s personal information will be left vulnerable. We have all read about Zoom chats being hijacked and disrupted by trolls and hackers, and Google and government employees have been told not to use Zoom on their work equipment. But all of these issues are to be expected with any internet service, and while it is scary, they don’t paint the whole picture of why I’m not using Zoom.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that I don’t have any pressing reasons to use Zoom; therefore, me using it would just be a symptom of wanting to join the trend. I don’t have any school that is using Zoom, me and my friends are interacting via other means, and for work, we are using a different service, meaning that my need for Zoom is pretty much nonexistent.
FaceTime, to me, is the classic form of video chatting, of course, there is Skype, but that was never my thing either. FaceTime is a lot of me and my friend’s standard way of chatting in and out of quarantine. Rather than a brief phone call, we just FaceTime; it provides more of a sense of intimacy, and you can get a better read on each other’s vibe. It also makes roasting each other easier due to having visual aids and a glimpse into what your friends are doing at that moment.
During quarantine me and my friend’s use of FaceTime has increased, and this was done to serve many different purposes. One of them is playing video games, and while me and my friends can just use microphones to chat, we prefer to have FaceTime open that way, we can peek over from time to time and see each other’s faces while talking smack. It also gives more of a feeling of actually hanging out when you have that visual element, for example, before me and my friends start a game we might crack a beer, and its fun to do that together and then do virtual cheers through the phone, something that isn’t as fulfilling with just an audio element.
The other thing I’ve been using FaceTime for is screenwriting with my friends. This would possibly be better done through Zoom, but again, it’s not what me and my group are used to. So what will happen is me and my friends will prop our phones up, and we will all be looking at the same script. And while we are typing or talking over certain things, we can look at each other explaining our ideas, and it helps to create less of a disconnected process and keeps the collaboration alive. It even works for when you have to act something out or describe something visually, you can just stand up at your desk and your friends can watch you pantomime the ideas in your head.
Actually Hanging Out
Now, this is probably going to be the most polarizing option, but it is me and many other people’s truths. Me and a select few of my friends have been adhering to staying inside since those orders first started coming out, and after two and a half weeks went by with none of us getting sick, we started opening up to actions we could take to safely interact.
So far, there are only two options we chose to use as an outlet to hang out, and it certainly beats talking virtually, and we also were able to exercise social distancing.
The first option we went with was skateboarding in downtown Tampa. The way we went about this is three of us drove into downtown separate at 8 P.M. when it was completely empty, and then we met up and proceeded to skate around for hours, all while maintaining a safe distance from each other. This was one of the best experiences I’ve had during this pandemic, it felt so surreal to be skating around an absolute ghost town of a city, and to be sharing that moment with my friends.
The second option was to set up a projector in my garage and to watch movies on that. Watching movies is something that me an my friends do together frequently, and with theaters being shut down, we all felt that we needed a way to scratch that itch. So a couple of people came over with their masks and hand sanitizer, and we all chose a seat in my garage. We then proceeded to knock out two movies that we’ve had on our list for a while. And as much fun, as we have had FaceTiming, it was totally refreshing to feel us all laughing as a group again.