May 15, 2020
It seems no matter what the latest fad is someone finds a way to ruin the experience for others. Taking selfies became the rage several years ago. People purchased selfie sticks to get better angles and spent hours taking and posting pictures of themselves in interesting (to them I guess) poises. I remember sitting behind one such woman when Melissa and I attended a Royals game in Kansas City. She constantly scooted around in her seat and must have taken thirty pictures over the nine innings. I am sure I was in more than a few. The response to the selfie craze was the origination of the photo bomb. A few scalawags would make a point of getting in the background of the selfie and unknown to the taker, would be digitally immortalized.
Zoom calls have now become the norm and these calls are used for both business and family conversation. This week I was in a Zoom call with about 20 other people when suddenly a new person was added to the group. We all stopped and wondered who this was. Then two more people were added and then fifteen. Then all at once all the new participants cameras came on at the same time. Some of the people were inappropriately dressed and none of them were known. The host commented, “O NO! We have been Zoom Bombed!” We all left the conversation without being asked, waited a few moments, and then returned to the call. It happened again a little while later and we all just left.
I have never understood the logic behind bombing someone. While I do not enjoy taking my picture and sharing it with 300 of my closest friends it must bring satisfaction to those who do. Even when the bomb has a humorous result, it is always at the expense of the one taking the picture. The Zoom bombs are not even intended to be funny. They are intended solely for disruption. With all the business that is being conducted by streaming, bombing is a way to do something at the expense of another. Maybe I would feel different if it were not a call I was participating on.
THOUGHTS: Getting bombed on my call did not irritate or shock me, but it did cause a disruption. When I was in High School and College a pre-digital fad called “streaking” was all the rage. This was essentially a live bomb performance and the results were the same, shock and disruption. Even Richard Nixon was streaked while enjoying a dinner party in Southern California. During my day, the bomb was generally performed by those who felt they had neither power nor voice and was often issued as a protest. It makes me wonder if the same can be said of Zoom bombers trapped at home in a pandemic. Or maybe it is just to prove they can. If it is possible, Stay home. Stay safe.