Phyllis Zimbler Miller – In Defense of Zoom (or Similar Online Technology)
I recently spoke to a fellow screenwriter to remind her about an upcoming Zoom networking opportunity. I did this because I had originally met her when, before Covid, this particular group’s networking meetings were held in person.
She said that she felt Zoomed out and thought she’d wait until the in-person meetings resumed.
Afterwards I pondered what she had said and how I disagreed with her.
To begin with, putting aside the question of Zoom versus in-person, there is the important consideration of staying in touch with people, especially when we aren’t able to freely mix with others.
As writers or other professionals, are we keeping up with those relationships we have established and nurtured, perhaps over years? Or are we so “locked down” that we can’t even think beyond our own walls?
When the lockdown first began in Los Angeles in mid-March, I admit that I didn’t undertake to move online the Beverly Hills Great Books discussion group (of which I am the unofficial chair). And this was truly foolish as I had already been on Zoom webinars for many months and knew how easy and effective they could be.
Luckily one of the other members galvanized us into moving online, and it has been very fulfilling. In fact, we now have three new members Zooming in from different parts of the U.S. No one has to fight the Los Angeles traffic and, surprisingly, people are now on time to the meetings. (We also are not prevented from holding meetings when our Beverly Hills meeting room is closed for various mandated public holidays.)
Bottom line? We’re going to stay online even after it is safe to return to in-person meetings. And I admit I would have been very remiss to have passed up this expanded opportunity for our engaging book discussions.
If you are not into attending Zoom (or the like) webinars or conversations, are you still staying in touch with your connections? For example, if you see an online article that could be of interest to Person X, are you sending that article link to Person X with a “thinking of you” note?
Or when given the opportunity to invite guests to a free online program, are you considering who might enjoy being invited? Even if the person ultimately doesn’t attend online, the person may be very pleased that you invited him/her.
Perhaps this seems somewhat of a trivial topic for a guest blog post. Yet I think that, as many of us stay hunkered down in our own pods, it is important for us to reach out to others we know, particularly people living alone. Just saying hello via email, phone or text can make someone’s “safe at home” day!
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is an author and screenwriter in Los Angeles. She can be reached through her website at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com
I agree with you. We moved our critique group online and have not lost a step, as in your case, attracted new members that wouldn’t have been able to participate otherwise. It saves all that driving and emissions and lost time too, commuting and preparing!
Personally, I would prefer to do things virtually most of the time. I’m disabled and live in the middle of nowhere. Going to in-person meetings is a stress I don’t need.
Thank you for posting Phyllis’s article on your blog. I do agree. I have found Zooming to be very helpful. Yes, it was strange getting used to it but I too have decided to hold one of my meetings on Zoom even when the lockdown is over.
She’s also a very interesting person.
Absolutely, Phyllis! 100%. We’ve had two lockdowns so far over here and during them I thought the zoom meetings were a brilliant way of keeping in touch with everyone. I had newly joined a writers’ group and I met them for the first time through zoom. It really is ideal for being able to connect with everyone despite what was happening outside!
There are a lot of conference opportunities beyond Zoom and most of them, I’ve been thankful to be doing a conference call rather than appear in person.
On the contrary, I find this an important subject, Phyllis. I think as the pandemic stretches on, socializing in whatever we can safely do so, is important to our well being. I’m feeling the strain of not being able to be with my friends. Thank you for always making me think.