The first virtual meeting of my local drop-in writers’ group, Belchertown Writers, took place on Sunday, Mar. 22 on Zoom. It worked! Woo hoo!
Personally, I’ve been using Zoom for a long time for work, but in the last couple of weeks, I’ve discovered features of Zoom that I never knew it had. For example, it lets you really easily pull up a whiteboard to scribble on that everyone can see — or share a document on your computer, or a browser window.
Just move your mouse to the bottom of the screen, or tap on your phone screen, and look for the green “share” button at the bottom.
My grandmother’s English school is also using Zoom for all of its classes. And my other writers’ group, a local SciFi group, has also moved to Zoom and its working out really well as well.
You feel really close to people – especially when you see their pets and where they live.
Zoom is completely free, though if you want to have really long meetings, they’ll want you to upgrade to their premium service. During the epidemic, they’re updating everyone for free. 🙂 Thanks, Zoom!
Here’s the URL for our meetings: https://zoom.us/j/152083261
(It’s going to be the same for all future meetings, so you can save it or bookmark it.)
I’ve been hearing warnings about Zoom bombing, so I’ve got a waiting room enabled and will screen out unwelcome visitors — and kick people out if they start misbehaving! So far, I haven’t had that problem because writers are nice, good people. But, as we all know, the Internet is full of trolls, so it’s good to have a plan, just in case.
And here’s a YouTube tutorial on how to use Zoom:
I suggest that if you’re using Zoom for the first time that you go to their website, Zoom.us, or look for Zoom in your app store, install it, and practice talking to a friend. Find where the mute button is (hint: bottom left) in case your dog starts barking in the middle of a meeting. And where the share button is (bottom middle) so that you can share pictures, writing, or Web windows.