Love it or hate it; one thing that we have all learnt during the pandemic is how to use the video conferencing app Zoom.
From conferences and Pub quizzes to Weddings, Zoom has enabled us to connect even when physically we can’t.
For me, with my visual impairment it was an incredibly steep learning curve to understand how to use it to its full potential.
I have hosted many a meeting with friends, colleagues and even the cub scouts who are all unable to meet face to face at this time.
When ‘Share screen’ goes on my own camera goes off. Then I can sit with my nose up close to actually see the content.
For conferences it has enabled me to join in when if I was at an event in person I may struggle due to the amount of people, the noise level and even at times the flashing lights. This all disappears on Zoom.
For other meetings it has enabled me to be in the comfort of my own home, rather than making a lengthy journey across the country, which in turn has enabled many more people to join the meeting who may have been restricted before due to location or time.
And as I said above, just Last weekend, I had the privilege of watching two wonderful friends celebrate and marrying each other; After the original ceremony was postponed at the very beginning of the pandemic.
Even though it was via zoom I dressed for the occasion, following the guidance that the couple had previously shared as their ceremony took place in a Mosque.
But why did I like this via zoom so much? I hear you ask.
The answers are very simple.
Because I was actually able to SEE my friends as they spoke. It was set up so that each of those within the Mosque that read out, sung or spoke were on a different camera to the couple.
Again it enabled me to momentarily turn off my own camera so that I could look closely at the happy couple and see the beautiful decorations that were set out before them and also the beautiful outfits they were wearing.
As this ceremony took place in a Mosque, had we been able to meet in person then this is where we would have continued the celebrations with food afterwards. Obviously there is no way to convey this via a video conferencing app, however it did mean that I was able to see up close as the happy couple cut into their amazing wedding cake.
Yes, I would have much rather have been able to be there with them in person to celebrate. To hug them both. However, for me because of my sight and hearing issues I feel that I was actually able to enjoy their special day more, because of the closeness of the camera to them, because of the way it was set up that when someone else spoke it flicked over to their camera. (Were I there in person I would have no way to see who was talking)
Via zoom for me, there is also no worry of the travel, the hotel arrangements, the concerns over coping without my guide dog, among other anxieties.
And more importantly it meant that two of my wonderful friends were able to join together and start this new chapter of their lives; as a partnership.
There will come a time when we can meet together, gather and celebrate. And that is most certainly a day I am looking forward to, sadly though I feel we are a long way off such at time at the moment.
I had used zoom prior to the pandemic, but only for meetings and the odd training.
Yet now, it is an integral part of my life and for me personally it helps me to overcome some of the issues that could hold me back because of my sight and hearing loss.
So, just as I love marmite I think I can honestly say, I am a big fan of Zoom. I know it isn’t for everyone, my own son for example absolutely hates it. But then he isn’t a fan or Marmite either !