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Stay Smart About South Africa

Zoom 101 For Seniors

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As quarantine protocols and social distancing practices remain in place, people all over the world now rely on virtual communications to stay connected with one another. Right now, Zoom is one of the most popular online video conferencing platforms for everything from business meetings to consultations with a doctor and celebrating birthdays with the grandkids.

For those who aren’t too clued up with what’s happening in the digital world, setting up a video chat might seem like a daunting task. Especially for senior citizens who are more used to getting hold of everyone they need to speak to in the old-fashioned way, via a telephone.

Calvin Fisher, owner of Pandabomb, a digital production house that specialises in photography, videography and social media marketing, has put together a guide for those who would like to start using Zoom as a new way of communicating with their friends and family. 

Download Zoom

To start using Zoom, you’ll need to download the Zoom program on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. There are a few ways to do this:

  • On your smartphone or tablet, download the Zoom mobile app from the App Store or the Google Play Store.
  • On your computer, manually download Zoom by clicking this link. Click the “Download” button below Zoom Client for Meetings.
  • Join your first Zoom meeting and the program will automatically start downloading for you.

Join a Zoom call

There are a few ways to join a Zoom meeting. The first way to join is simple:

  • Click the link in an invitation email: If you have an email invitation, click “Join Zoom Meeting” in that email. This takes you to the Zoom website.
  • Go to the Zoom website: Go to https://zoom.us/join, and enter the 9-digit meeting ID from your invitation email. If the meeting requires a password, that will be in your email, too.

Once you’re in the Zoom meeting, there will be a preview of your camera image. You could then either click on “Join with Video” or “Join without Video.” If you use video, other people in the meeting will see you. If not, they will just see your name. Next, Zoom asks about audio. Click “Join with Computer Audio” so you can hear and be heard when chatting with the other participants on the call.

Participate in a Zoom call

Once you’ve joined the meeting, you can see and hear other participants. Each participant will appear in a square block which will display their face (if they’ve chosen to join with video) or just their name.

If you’re on a call with a large group of participants, make sure your microphone is muted. Your computer’s microphone is pretty sensitive, and it can pick up a lot of background noise. The last thing you want is for everyone to hear your dogs barking throughout the call! The mute button, which looks like a microphone, is in the bottom left corner of the Zoom screen. If the microphone has a red line through it, you’re muted, and no one in the meeting can hear you – or your barking dogs, for that matter.

 Only one person in the meeting can talk at a time. Zoom indicates who is speaking by highlighting their image with a yellow square.

There is also a chat feature in Zoom, where you can type messages to other participants. Participants can send messages to everyone on the call, or just certain participants. However, after the meeting, the host can view the transcript of all chats, so it’s not entirely private. So, it would be best to avoid spilling any sensitive information in the chat section.

Leave a Zoom meeting

As soon as you’re done with the Zoom call, click “Leave Meeting” in the bottom right corner to step out of the call.

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