Even though I am incarcerated, I see the pain that comes from having to connect to others through Zoom video software. The pain isn’t from the software itself, but those who are completely unqualified to use it. During this legislative session for Washington state, many of us civically minded inmates view countless hours of testimony live from Olympia. Because of the pandemic (and I’m sure for convenience as well) most of the participants video in. Most times, it’s fine and well delivered video coverage of their testimony. Sometimes, it’s extremely painful. Sometimes, it’s beyond painful…

For example, if you insist on using a green screen, don’t wear matching colors. The talking, disembodied head is scary. Also, the background is often ridiculous… the greens of someone else’s mansion as a background makes you look like a pretentious prick. You know what? Just avoid outdoor settings completely. If the state lawmakers won’t take the homeless seriously and that IS their living room, then politicians shouldn’t have an outdoor setting either and be taken seriously. How about that library background, huh? Who’s library is that? Or the sheriff who has a log cabin background superimposed, complete with gun racks and mounted heads… lean far right much? Yeah, you seem fair and impartial. Or the people who ditch the fake background entirely and settle for their own space… good! It’s a start! But please clean your house. I can’t take you seriously either. Or the guy or girl who took a class of AV in high school twenty years ago who get “artsy” with camera angles… just stop it… Use the right lighting because you look like a silhouette…

Before we chew through HOURS of testimony over Zoom, please take a “basics” class online (because I’m sure they exist) and set the stage for a serious discussion. The chaos of the unqualified Zoom participant is super distracting to a message and it reminds me of some advice I found about job interviews… If the interview went well and you walk them out to their car and the car looks like a mess inside, so might their approach be to your company. The devil is in the details, so get your Zoom right…

by Rory Andes

Watching a mess is distracting.

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Rory Andes 367649
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