Virtual Meetings with Family and Friends

Last Saturday, I was thrilled to attend a virtual WW (formerly Weight Watchers) workshop online. Normally, I would not broadcast to the world that I am a WW member, but these are not normal times.

Why was this such an exciting workshop? I learned something new, video conferencing. This is Post Number 2 about things to do during lockdown.

The WW workshop was attended by thirty-three people! It was such a good feeling to see and hear people that I pretty regularly see on Saturday mornings. I needed that feeling of normalcy.

I actually “attended” the meeting on my phone. During the workshop, we had some conversations about how the Zoom app works. On my screen, I could see a small image of myself and a full screen video of whoever was talking. Many of the participants were new to this process.

As we talked, we discovered that on the phone we could swipe left to see others. I guess this sounds like a dating app! I was nervy enough to come in my robe, so no one would pick me as their date. Our leader said that she could see twenty people at a time around her computer screen and those on tablets saw various numbers.

I want to meet with family and various other of my regular groups. I want to see everybody at once.

What follows is the story of Debbie learning how to use Zoom on my laptop.

Feel free to laugh along.

  • My daughter, after Zooming with friends for the first time, sent all the family members a link to the app.
  • I clicked the link and did what I was prompted to do. Not hard.
  • I called one of my five “Game Day” friends that I thought might be willing to learn with me. She found many apps named Zoom for her tablet but finally settled on one. It apparently was the correct app.
  • I started a meeting and sent her the link. What??! I can’t see myself! It’s a black screen with my name.
  • I rebooted my computer, texting my friend. Then I logged back on the app.
  • Her link no longer works. Apparently rebooting in the middle of a meeting is not allowed. Who knew?
  • I still have black camera screen. Hmm. I can see the light on next to the lens.
  • She tried new meeting link I sent. I could see and hear her. She could hear but not see me. Probably a blessing since I hadn’t styled my hair that morning. But that was not the point.
  • I finally tried again from my tablet and we had a successful meeting. Yeah! But I am determined to do this on my laptop.
  • I spent time searching for information on why my camera on the laptop would not work, even just in the camera mode.
  • Eighteen hours later, yesterday morning, after trying many things I discovered the tiny black switch above the black camera lens in the black frame of my computer. Hello, there I am. Success.

How embarrasing. All I had to do was press a switch. (Picture me hitting my head.)

Last night we had our first family Zoom experience. We had four screens online, as spouses sat in front of one computer. My daughter chased the baby with her laptop to capture her antics. We all laughed and talked.

I’m so glad we all learned how to do this and can look forward to another virtual gathering. I am thankful that we can see each other through technology during this challenging time of social distancing.

Stay tuned for Post Number 3 about things to do during lockdown. I just hope my brain is big enough for all the new learning I have planned.

The sun is out for the first time in a long while and I’m headed out to check the gardens. Stay well.

8 thoughts on “Virtual Meetings with Family and Friends

  1. Groan, my wife’s family did this the other night. I’m too easily annoyed and self-conscious to participate. I’d much rather be on an email string with a few people. This is my first boring day of the lock-down. Work is beyond slow and it’s raining out. My kids are at the store right now buying ping pong balls (that’s essential, right?) so I have something planned for later.


    1. You can elect to not show your face or you can do what one of my sons in law did. He popped on screen for a while and then went to cook dinner. My daughter showed his delicious plated meal when she signed off. Both my girls married men that do a lot of the cooking. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Zoom is how we are doing my gym classes, which I am very thankful for. (Bob had to set it up for me – I couldn’t get it to work either). Earlier I said I was happy to be spending so much time with my kids. But I didn’t think of my parents. I got the anxious call yesterday from my mom, and finally called her back today (after my dad texted me to). I think she would like to zoom. I’m more of an email/text person as well, but appreciate she isn’t.


    1. When you do gym classes is the video of you exercising visible to others or do you turn off the video? Don’t know why, I’m curious. This is the person who was online in a robe. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, everyone can see me and I can see them. I guess the coaches want to be able to see you so they can correct you if you are doing a move wrong. I know what you mean though – I am so self conscious of the area I am in. I keep a clean house, but with three kids and all their sports their equipment is everywhere. Now, the equipment is loaded off to the side so at least THAT is not visible 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie, I also learned to use Zoom this past week, and I found it much more engaging than I thought I would. I love the fact that you can have a multi-way conversation and that I can see others’ facial expressions and body language. (Since I have a little hearing loss, the fact that I can see others’ mouths as they are speaking makes video conferencing so much more relaxed than the telephone.) I was very happy when I discovered that you can change what people see in the background. I took a photo of the calm, woodsy scene outside my sliding glass doors so that people can look at that instead of the messy storage area in my study. I’m thinking of inviting about a dozen friends for a “virtual open house.”

    Liked by 1 person

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