April 3, 2020
I finally did it. I set up my first meeting on ZOOM. I’ve attended ZOOM meetings before, and several a week over the last three weeks, but I’ve never hosted. Most of these meetings have been through a large corporation or a judicatory who have paid staff who understand the intricacies of on-line creation. My staff is me. If I get in trouble, I can also turn to Melissa to get me out of the jam. She works as a techie and understands a lot of what needs to be done. In the past I always relied on her to accomplish whatever I need.
Things are different now. I still rely on her to do a lot of problem solving but I also know creating an on-line presence is time consuming. I have noticed in the past whenever an issue came up where she didn’t know the immediate answer, she would query on-line. To plug into ZOOM I went to their web page and asked, “How do I schedule a meeting?” An instructional video along with written instructions came up to walk me through the process. I’ve also been having trouble with my sound when I connect to the second monitor. I opened my browser and typed, “How do I get sound to work?” Since I wasn’t on a web page, it offered several options. I clicked on the one that seemed closest to my problem and again it took me to a video and written instructions to walk me through.
I realize none of this is rocket science but prior to a month ago I really had no desire to find out what information is stored on-line. Having worked as an Historian I find comfort in having written material in front of me. I limited my on-line experience to communication (and playing my game). I had taken a virtual sabbatical through the Holy Land several years ago and was amazed by the depth of resources available. When I enter the world of virtual reality now, I am blown away by how much we have developed. I hope this ZOOM meeting works.
THOUGHTS: Just like everyone else, I’m being drug kickin’ and screamin’ into the 21st century. Ten years ago, I took a seminary class in creating virtual community. I found it both fascinating and disturbing. I was fascinated by the length people could go to create community. The virtual relationships I saw were just as close and meaningful to participants as face to face was to me. What I found disturbing was my own fear of losing “real” contact. In the midst of self-isolation I worry about those who are not on-line or technically savvy. We need to find ways to ensure no one is left outside in the new reality we face going forward.