I think I'm in week 4 or 5 of quarantine and social distancing. To be perfectly honest I don't actually know how many weeks I have been locked in my apartment, the days are all starting to blur into one endless mass week. Is it Friday or Monday and does it really matter anymore?
We are all having to adjust to this new weird normal, where the human touch is about as terrifying as your current personal hygiene routine and all our social interactions are achieved through screen time.
While there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with social distance rules appearing to be easing, at least here in Australia. We are a long way from normal in-real-life socialising, and going back to the office to have 'real-life' conversations. It looks like we are stuck with our Zoom obsession for a little longer. As an effect we have all had to adjust to a world that fits into a rectangle tile view and along with this transition has come new rules and social etiquette to follow.
Whether it is navigating some serious business meetings or getting loose with your bestie on a Saturday night. Zoom has become our one-stop-shop for social engagement. While it's no substitute for the real thing, zoom meetings have defiantly kept a lot of iso people connected and sane. We all have our own horror stories of Zoom meeting fails, whether it's a child scream for attention, a dog wiping out your laptop or my personal horror when I staggered to the bathroom in my underwear, walking in direct screen view of my partners zoom meeting. Thankfully his camera was off. However, considering zoom is here for a while let's brush up on our video call skills.
There are a few no's that have to be given a hall pass with the current situation we are all in. For example, taking a call from your bed may be the only quiet and flat space you have to work with. You can be forgiven if your meeting room environment is less than ideal. Most of us were not considering an appropriate meeting space when searching for apartments.
While these situations are easily excused we still need to discuss the elephant on the call. If you are in a less then ideal meeting space, call it out. Explain this is the best you have right now and own it. Most people will understand the situation.
When your hanging with friends, being distracted by your screen, phone or what is generally happening around you can be fucking annoying. We are all guilty of this act, sometimes your insta feed is far more entertaining than your friend's insolation paranoia. However, you would not show the same level of disinterest if you were connected IRL and nor should you on a video call. Considering now more than ever we need real engagement, we should all show up to our social and work calls minus the distractions.
No one cares, really everyone is one Zoom meeting and social gathering. You're not unique, special or ahead of the curve on this one. For the love of god stop.... If I see one more zoom screen shoot on social media I might throw my phone off the balcony.
This may be obvious but taking screen shoots without asking is a big no no. Not to mention, it's creepy as fuck. Gain consent before you snap away, and give everyone a moment to look good before you do so. Ask permission before you inevitably plaster that screenshot all over social threads. Who knows your friends might share my same dislike for over-sharing video calls like it's the early 2000's.
We should have learned from meme culture and know by now, that pets and laptops are not a great mix. If your jumping on a call, you might want to consider the location of your human or fur babies and if you can keep them at bay for the length of your call. If a screaming child enters your safe space, just politely ask if the meeting members would mind you leaving for a moment to manage the encroaching chaos that is happening of camera.
While you're not running a GQ photoshoot every time you turn on the webcam, you want to give a few moments of thought into how you will look on camera. You would not show up to a meeting or brunch half-dressed and with fucked hair, same applies for video calls. Think about the light access, where the camera is positioned in relation to your profile (aim for the same distance you would stand from a person when having an IRL conversation), what is happening in the background and are you wearing pants? A little thought will go along way here.
That brings me to my final point.
I don't care that you're on day 5000 of isolation, your not a savage. WEAR PANTS, they don't even have to be outside pants (yes our world has been simplified to inside pants and outside pants), you can wear track pants. Just put on pants.
Remember, isolation will end and we will all have to face the decisions and social constructs we built-in quarantine. You don't want to be the weird guy at the work that lives in a dungeon, has a crazy home tribe and was pant-less in the 2020 COVID-19 crisis.