Zoom: Making staying in the new going out
It's not just for business. Here's how to make the most of Zoom
The word 'Zoom' has taken on a completely different meaning this year. It used to be something my cat did at 3am, now it's something I have to schedule and have to prepare for with documents and research. I even need to get dressed – the horror.
Zoom is a video conferencing tool that has been adopted by just about everyone during lockdown. Universities are delivering lectures and holding tutorials on Zoom, businesses are having work meetings via Zoom, interviews that would happen in person are now on Zoom. Thank goodness for it, but there is more to it than your 9-5 chit chat.
People are taking advantage of how amazingly easy it is to use, coupled with the fact that everyone has had to install it, to meet up with their friends without having to break lockdown rules. Some are 'meeting up' for a chat, some are having some drinks, and some are even having quiz nights. I recently installed Zoom for my Nanna so that she could see my Mum for the first time in about three months!
The Zoom cook along dinner party
So it took a bit of organising but we all have time these days, and there is no reason you can't pull this off.
We decided that we were all having pizza, but that we would be lazy about it. There is a local company, called Dough for Dough, who will deliver dough, sauce, and cheese to your door, ready to go. If it's not an amazing time to be supporting local business, I really don't know when is. If you are in Glasgow, consider them because it turned out to be the most perfect dough I've had: the pizzas were perfect!
Our friend's household ordered a kit and we ordered a kit, we scheduled a Zoom and the scene was set.
We each angled the computer in the kitchen so that we could make the pizzas together, expressing an appropriate amount of disdain at the toppings we had each selected. We hung out and chatted while they were in the oven and then ate them together, as we would have done if we had invited them over. We then downloaded an app called Psych! that has loads of games that we could play together and Zoomed into the night. It was a great success.
Birthday party Zooms
People are, quite rightfully, unwilling to allow their birthday to pass without celebration. We may not be able to meet up with people, as we normally would, but we adapt and overcome and we make the party happen.
Bakeries and fancy cake making companies are offering a new service where you can have a birthday cake made, and send small versions of the same cake to your friends. Depending on your budget you can send out little standard cupcake versions or, if you want to be pretty elaborate, you can send out matching mini versions. Then you all meet up on Zoom to blow the candles out and have a drink and a dance. Normal order being close to restored.
BYOB Whisky Zoom
FoodTribe's very own Shivaum was invited to a whisky themed Zoom for a friend's birthday. Obviously, it was a bring your own bottle affair but, on the plus side, the snacks were exactly what he wanted and he got to eat the lot!
Pointers for the perfect Zoom
ATMOSPHERE: It can be really tough to generate an atmosphere on a video call. You can help make it happen by having a playlist that you all listen to (if a smattering of karaoke breaks out, all the better for it)
PURPOSE: if you text your friends all the time or are never out the group chat, you can get onto a Zoom and find that you've nothing to say because you have been chatting all day. Give the call a purpose, like the pizza making and games, or a party. Movie night is a great idea, particularly if you are in on your own. Zoom your friend, both put the same movie on, annoy each other with the crunching of popcorn.
CONNECTION: If you have a decent internet connection, that's great, if you don't, you're going to want to try and maximise what you have. Shut all your other tabs and apps, if possible, and have as few things connected to the wifi as possible. If there are any issues in the Zoom, we have had issues with random echos, figure them out at the start. There is nothing worse than being disappointed and frustrated because it sounds like your friends, who you haven't seen in months, are chatting to you from the bottom of a pool. Sort it out at the start so you can enjoy the event.
INTRODUCTIONS: No, not you, your pets. There is a good chance you have met each other's pets but get those guys involved because there isn't a warm blooded soul who doesn't want to see that. Also, they probably haven't all met each other, now is the time. It's good manners.
EXPLORE: There are lots of companies who don't fancy seeing coronavirus shut them down, and have adapted to the current situation to bring you a modified version of their normal service. I joined a group of friends for a virtual escape room recently and it was really good fun. The idea of an escape room is that you are locked into a room and have to solve a series of riddles and problems to get out. This was the same but there were things we each had to unlock on the website to lead to new clues. Other companies are offering similar things so have a look and choose one you will all like.