OK Zoomer: a student’s guide to spicing up Zoom calls

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One of my closest friends loathes Zoom University with a vengeance, and I don’t blame her. Social interaction during in-person contact hours is already punctuated with awkwardness. Needless to say, this is amplified in our seemingly endless parade of Zoom seminars, meetings, and virtual pub quizzes. 

On a large online platform, it becomes increasingly difficult to watch out for social cues (not that I was ever adept at doing so). How are we meant to know when to speak, without accidentally speaking over someone because their audio lags? Do we mute, or unmute our microphones when our housemates cause a commotion in the background? Camera on or off? 

To combat these inconveniences, why not embrace them? Why walk on virtual eggshells when you can spice up your Zoom calls with a bit of chaos? 

‘Why walk on virtual eggshells when you can spice up your Zoom calls with a bit of chaos?’

Film a mukbang 

Perhaps you’ve seen this person in your seminars tuck into their piping hot takeaway on the call. You look at this person with equal parts envy and anger: you’re annoyed because you’re hangry and desperately craving what they’re eating (@ the person eating Lebaneat on a Zoom social). 

Yet deep down, you desperately aspire to be that person. Give into your urges and prepare a three course meal, surrounded by steam from your kitchen. If your camera and microphone are off, they’ll never know. 

Leave your camera or microphone on, and promptly forget about it

This seems to be a permanent fixture of every Zoom call, and you’ve probably had this accident before.  In my case, I was experimenting with the beard filter on Snapchat to see how I would look as Joe Exotic – this was my seminar days before Halloween. Unbeknownst to me, my camera was on the entire time: I only found out after the fact from my housemate, who was sitting next to me. 

Pretend you’re a talk show host

To assert your dominance and become the alpha of the group, interrupt the other people on the call. Become that person in your seminar — that wellspring of incessant conversation who talks for twenty, even thirty minutes at a time. 

‘Become the wellspring of incessant conversation who talks for twenty, even thirty minutes at a time’

Clap at the end even though no one asked

I remember in one of my first English literature lectures, I was taken aback to find that everyone clapped after the professor spoke. In retrospect, now that in-person theatre, music performances, and cinema outings are simply out of the question, you can rise to the occasion. Become a trailblazer and connoisseur by clapping at the end of all of your Zoom calls. 

Kickstart your career as a beauty YouTuber

Only recently, I learnt that there was a beauty filter on Zoom. Before, the harsh lighting in my bedroom was certainly doing me no favours. But now, all of this is set to change. 

Why not maximise that weird waiting time before a Zoom call begins? Just because we’re in lockdown, it doesn’t mean you have to dress down. There’s no time like the present to experiment with new makeup looks, revamp your wardrobe, and find your best angles. Want a live audience? Give your seminar leader or academic advisor an unsolicited makeup tutorial. 

‘Just because we’re in lockdown, it doesn’t mean you have to dress down’

One-up everyone with your background

I once saw someone set the entirety of Frozen as their Zoom background, playing the whole film during a society EGM. Was this person disturbing the meeting? Yes. But was this a power move? Definitely. 

To gain the respect of your classmates and friends, change your Zoom background every two seconds, so you can constantly surprise others with your creativity. They’ll never know what’s coming next! 

Image by louspics via Pixabay

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