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Friday Digital Roundup

The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

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Saturday 22nd June 2024

16 Zoom Faux Pas That Drive Me Crazy – a Rant!

Mon 11th May 2020
By Todd

I make no apology for this post.

Actually… I should do before I get going. This isn’t personal, and it’s tongue in cheek so it’s not supposed to be serious.

I say that (as a rather non-SEO start to a blog) because the world is rather sensitive at the moment.

Like you, I’ve been having an affair with my webcam over the past few weeks and Zoom meetings have been at the centre of it all.

Firstly, Zoom is cool and thank God for Zoom. I mean, how else would we have done all those meetings? With the phone? Lord no… we gotta see some faces!

Secondly, I use Zoom a lot, but this isn’t (like most of my posts) a blog full of useful tips… it’s 100% rant and full on ‘off-my-chest’ blogging.

I do hope you’ll let me indulge.

If you’re one of the people who do these below faux pas then I still love you (if I loved you before) but I’m judging you from afar now.

Right… let’s rant.

Zoom pet hates you have to stop…

16 Zoom Faux Pas That Drive Me Crazy - a Rant!

1.    The Forehead!

Right, let’s get this one out of the bag right away. We don’t want to see you praying (looking up) or domineering (looking down). Get your webcam level with your friggin’ eyes.

Just put a box under your laptop or screen or raise your chair. Jo uses a beanbag. Think of your Zoom meeting as a news broadcast on the TV. Look at how they sit on TV and aim for that kinda level.

We want eyes, mouth, chin, AND forehead.


2.    The Muffler!

I said I wasn’t going to give tips and one rant in and I’ve started giving tips. Screw it, let’s do it, as Branson once said.

The sound is really important. On all video. Please try to get some level of decent sound.

We know you’re working at home. We know your kids don’t get it. We know that a dog on camera is funny and cute. We know. But get some background noise removed with a swift close of the door and maybe plug your headphones in for a quick makeshift mic?

We don’t need to hear Peppa Pig from a nearby TV or your partner doing dishes in the background.


3.    The Silhouette!

For the love of all that you pray to, stop streaming with a window behind you.

All we can see is your outline. What even is the point of a video call if all you can see is a silhouette?

You can see your little face on the screen in the top corner, right? THAT’S WHAT WE SEE! Make it visible?


4.    The Dogger!

You need to stop leaving your mic on when your kids are talking or dogs are barking in the background. If you’re in a Zoom room or Zoom meeting and you’re not talking and you’re not planning on talking, just turn off your mic right away.

If all of a sudden, the postman knocks on the door and your pets, children, neighbour’s dogs go feral for a few minutes – mute yourself! Please?


5.    The Mute!

This is a BIG one. “You’re on mute” can be heard across the globe right now and yes – I’ve been caught by this one too. Before you go live or join a Zoom or similar call, check your tech.

Instead of avoiding the onboarding messages because you’re late and just jumped in your chair, wiped the Weetabix from your mouth, and clicked through frantically through all those ‘pop-ups’ to get online – read them!

They’ll soon tell you if you don’t have your tech set up correctly.


6.    The Backdropper!

Right. I get it, it’s all new and you got excited when someone showed you that you could have a funky background. But sitting on Zoom in your box room pretending the New York skyline is behind you when it clearly says you’re based in Barnsley on Google Maps is daft.

Plus… those backgrounds are glitchy as hell. Yes, if you have the washing out during your call it makes sense to block out your undies with a Zoom background… but don’t turn it off by mistake when you’re trying to unmute yourself, will you?

Getting a Zoom background? Get a good one, one that suits your and your business, or simply tidy up!


7.    The Gaggle!

Jeez. “No, go on… no… ha ha… OK, you go first… me? Ok… Well… oh, no you go!”

FFS. Just wait. Learn to wait. Learn to judge. Learn some Zoom decorum! It’s not natural to be on camera and to be in these odd conversations but please stop talking all over each other.


8.    The Dalek!

Something else to test before you go live is your internet strength. Can you watch a video on YouTube? No? Then you probably can’t stream to Zoom!

Reset your router, stop the teenagers from online gaming, move rooms (in your house), or join the meeting on your phone and use 4G. I don’t care what you do but don’t turn up and speak like a freezeframe dalek.

It’s. So. Frustrating.


9.    The Texter!

I know I piss about on my phone all the time, but if you turn up to a Zoom room, networking event, or worse – a meeting – and find something far more interesting on your phone then please just leave! Honestly.

If we’re not worth your attention and you don’t think that sitting on Zoom playing on TikTok is rude then you don’t deserve our attention.


10. The Selfie!

Right… full on rant speed initiated…

If you need to take a selfie to show all your mates on LinkedIn how cool you are for doing a Zoom meeting (newsflash: this is now the norm so you’re not cool or forward-thinking at all) then at least take a decent photo.

I’ve seen countless selfies that are an actual photo of the computer screen.

Don’t take photo of your screen with your phone – take a screenshot on your computer. Don’t know how? GOOGLE IT!

Zoom screenshots

And then, please make sure everyone is looking interested, especially if you’re promoting your ‘live events’ because otherwise it just looks uninviting or interesting if 4 of the 12 people aren’t even looking in your general direction or look half asleep.

Learn the keyboard shortcut for screenshots and ask everyone to smile before you do it. It’s not that hard, surely?


11. The Ghost!

If you have to go, turn off your camera. Nothing makes people feel less important than when you join a video call and then leave it half-way through, for 10 minutes, or for good!

Book these video meetings in like a real meeting and treat them like that – with respect and commitment.


12. The Lounger!

Lying around on your sofa might feel really cool and ‘lockdown life’ but it’s hardly a professional image, is it? I’m a cowboy, our brand is wild west themed, but I still sit up straight and make sure my backdrop is half decent.

Listen to your teacher from back in those school days and “sit up straight!”. It shows you’re attentive. Apparently.

13. The Smacker!

Eating on Zoom. No. Stop.

Unless this is a casual chat with your mates then keep the snacks until you’re done, OK? No one tuned into watch or listen to you devour a bacon sarnie… we leave that to that bloke from the US who does food challenges or this rather lovely lass who eats enormous sausages!


14. The Hider!

Oh, and to add to the bad backlighting, at least consider a desk lamp or some kinda lighting for your face. If you opt for some funky studio box lights (£50 from Amazon) you’ll actually make your face look better.

Lighting – good lighting – is a great thing. It’s far better than some really dark, poorly lit, grainy image of you. Think about your image, your business, your brand… or don’t and just sit in the dark in your underpants.


15. The Guru!

Look, it’s just Zoom. We don’t need your blog, your course, your ‘expert ninja Zoom skills’ to use this. It’s really quite easy. That said, judging by the crap I’ve seen online during lockdown, maybe you’ll make a killing?

But really? Do we actually need a Zoom course? Really?


16. The Wobbler!

Zoom works on all devices. Cool. Yes, you can tune in on your phone. No, it’s not OK to have crap lighting, rubbish positioning, and it’s certainly not OK to have the phone in your hand and shake it like a maraca.

Please, we’re getting seasick this end! Prop it up, get a tripod, lean your phone against some books. Who wants to watch a wobbly video?


ZINGO – Zoom Bingo

Since writing this blog, we’ve been sent these two amazing piece of content for you to use and play with!

Zingo! – Thanks to Lee at Point and Stare!

Download the PDF here.

Spaghetti Zoom Bingo

And James at Meschi Consultants actually used my own rant ON ME during a Zoom call (he did all the things I hate!) – Download his Spaghetti Zoom Bingo card here.

Zoom, Zoom!

Ah… that’s better. Seriously though, get some basic quality in place for your Zoom/video calls. It’s not hard, but it is important. Just take a look at the next Zoom meeting/event you go to. The people with the crap light/sound/background/position… how do they look to you?

Avoid that look. Get some simple measures in place and you’ll be a Zoom ninja. Sign-up for my course here, etc etc…!

Got some to add? Ah go on… tell us in the comments!


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4 comments on this article

  • Lorentz Gullachsen at 10:42am on May 12th 2020

    Well said ! Look after you & your brand! We communicate visually & some making a massive mistake & ruining your Brand! You.

    1. Todd at 10:42am on May 12th 2020

      Amen! Such a big brand issue…

  • Steve Watson at 18:59pm on May 12th 2020

    Hi Todd, long time no speak. Some great gems here. I will have to catch up with you sometime in the virtual pub. Best wishes

    1. Todd at 19:39pm on May 12th 2020

      Ha. Thanks Steve. Maybe we could Zoom? ?

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