NEW YORK CITY – One year ago, Zoom was just another app, in another app store, on another device. We scrolled past it, with little thought into what we were doing. Barely anybody touched the blue and white logo. Now, Zoom has exploded! It has catapulted into every household in America. You can’t go through one day without hearing or seeing the word “Zoom.” From birthday parties, to work meetings, to even just hanging out with your friends, Zoom has rapidly become our normal. It’s like our new Cinderella story; from underrated and unknown, to being a 48.78 billion dollar company. People of all walks of life use Zoom, whether they understand it or not.
Take, for instance, Jaclyn Okin Barney, a disabilities rights attorney and activist who, before quarantine, had no preparations for what was coming next. “In fact, the first time I used Zoom, my daughter set up the account I used. When I did it myself, I used the account she put up, not realizing it was a big deal until a few months later when it kicked my daughter off a meeting,” Jaclyn laughs a little while recounting the memory of four months ago as if it was new. She, like so many others, has gotten used to Zoom and pajama wearing, kid crashing, unmuted meetings. Like so many others, Jaclyn has found the good and bad aspects of Zoom.
“I like how it is easy to just show up. We get a really good turn out [at meetings] now on zoom, than we ever did in person.” A lot of people agree with the fact that now, over Zoom, you don’t have to worry about where you are, whether you are in your hometown or somewhere extremely different.
“I can work from anywhere. I have my laptop, a notebook to write things and I have a five hour drive from home. So it opens up more opportunities,” Jesse Kornblum says, a security engineer for FaceBook who is now vacationing in Cornwall, England away from his permanent home in London.
Zoom isn’t perfect, though. “There is something about the rhythm of talking that is different online and it is still unnatural after a decade [of working with video conferencing software],” Jesse explains. Even though we can get the things we don’t get in-person, we all still yearn for the things we can’t get now, like people, not screens.
As human beings, we need social interactions to live, to be healthy, to just function. A New York Times article by Jane E. Brody said, “medical science has been increasingly demonstrating for decades [that] social interaction is a critically important contributor to good health and longevity.” However, until that wonderful day when we can shake the hand of our peer without wondering if it’s clean; or give our first, real, hug of warmth to a loved one we haven’t seen in months. Until the day we can just step outside and enjoy the company of people on either side of us; taking in the fresh, non-mask preventing air.
We have Zoom.