Zoom is taking over our lives. Things are getting weird.

All the new residents of Zoom, USA are running into a tangle of social rules.


March 18, 2020

The video-conferencing service Zoom is hosting your work meetings, your church services, your college classes, your art shows, your birthday parties, and your blind dates

But for residents of Zoomtown, USA, the new landscape has its own tangle of social rules. 

For instance: Do you look directly into your laptop camera to make eye contact with the speaker? (According to Zoom itself, yes.) Is it still fashionable to show up late to a Zoom party? (Unclear.) What happens if a cat jumps onto your shoulder while you’re working? (Depends on the company pet policy.) 

Big Zoom can track you now

There’s the cutesy side to Zoom — when chatting, you can change your background to the set of The Office, among many other options. Some remote work companies are even rolling out custom Zoom backgrounds — “Hotline Bling,” anyone? — to drive customers.

There’s the embarassing, such as the professor who tried to screen-share with her students and accidentally revealed a desktop folder labelled “DIVORCE.” Or the executive at Impossible Foods who spent a full work meeting vaguely resembling an alien because of a video glitch.

And there’s the creepy: Zoom has an attention-tracking feature that alerts hosts if an “attendee does not have Zoom Desktop Client or Mobile App in focus for more than 30 seconds.” 

Just wait for the ZoomBomb to drop 

Yesterday, a troll slipped into a public meeting and turned on screen-sharing, only to expose participants to a sexual video — a practice dubbed “ZoomBombing.” 

As Facebook and Twitter get slammed over their content moderation failures, Zoom might be next in the (remote) hot seat.

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