Overcoming Zoomaphopia Part 3 How to set up a zoom discussion/support group

Zoom Room Meeting protocols:

This is the third part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.

The Zoom Room experience has been fun and interesting. I think we and others broke new group during COVID19. I have made a list of some of issues that may came up and how your group might tackle them. Option 1 is to set up some meeting protocols at the beginning. Option 2 is to deal with protocols as you go along. Initially too many protocols can be overwhelming, but they can help to set some expectations about behaviour and help build stability during a time of rapid social change and unpredictability.

  • Structured vs unstructured meetings: Members will have different experience with speaking out in a group or in a video format. Some people will not want to show their face and just use audio. Some people like having a set time and sequence to speak and others like a more random conversation like at a cocktail party. Try out both modes and see what the group like. The unstructured mode can generate spontaneous discussions, but quiet people may need a prompt from the group leader.
  • Focus Be clear about the intent of the Zoom meeting, but this can morph over time.
  • Security: lots of people are anxious about the possibility of being hacked. Some general discussion might be helpful about how to protect privacy on Zoom.
  • Behaviour: There seems to be some unwritten code of conduct on Zoom. Some of these codes of conduct are about swearing, disrespect, grandstanding, interjections, people talking over each other etc. A group leader needs to attend to these behaviours so they don’t sabotage the meeting.
  • Privacy/confidentialityI have found that bonding occurs in most Zoom meetings. This includes my ESL students as well as friends and acquaintances. I have found conversations are quite deep and that people are open about self disclosure. As a result there is an assumed level of privacy, which is not often explicitly discussed in the meetings.Decide if you mind having family, guests or others in the Zoom room. Sometimes girl talk is private! Sharing the meeting content with people outside the meeting may come up as an issue. Find a level that is acceptable to most people. If you are a blogger and want to blog about your experiences with the group, get a pre-approval from individuals if you want to refer to their blog or post pictures. One Zoomer says ” What is said in Zoom stays in Zoom”.
  • Time out– Feel free to take time out or leave when you need to. Give the group the heads up.
  • New members/visitors/guest speakersThere may be subtle groups norms in your group. Its a bit like clique in high school. One group may want to keep the same members and others may welcome new members. In this moment of COVID 19, being open to new members may be the more altruistic approach but it may be challenging for new members to get up to speed. Getting some agreement about these issues early on is wise.
  • Zoom fatigue:-
    Many people who are working at home may be too Zoomed out to participate. This might lend itself to a once a month drop-in Zoom meeting with a guest speaker that doesn’t require a high cognitive demand.
  • Leaders:-
    constant vs rotating. Once members have learned the Zoom process, they can take on some responsibility for organizing meetings and being the discussion leader. Having the same facilitator is easy but rotating facilitators builds Zoom confidence and polishes up social skills in a time of isolation. Give people a few weeks to get comfortable with the format.
  • Leadership skills: Having a group leader which experience with organizing and chairing meetings can be an asset. Having a chair who understands meeting dynamics is helpful too.

Overcoming Zoomaphopia. Part 2 Topics for discussion for zoom social groups

This is the second part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.

This section is a list of topics my Zoom group has used. They were all interesting and sometimes controversial topics which added to the fun factor for me. The first 30 min of the meeting was a brief update from each person about highs and lows of the week and the group found this a very valuable part of the meeting.

“Zoom calls done right, with the right people and the right trust in place is an astounding opportunity to gain better understanding of others and most notably, better understanding of self” https://retirementreflections.com.

  • Did you have a desire to pursue another career, yet life moved you forward in this direction? What other career path would you have chosen knowing what you know now?  Why?
  • What is the most useless talent you have?
  • What talent don’t you have that you wish you did?
  • Share something that has inspired you this past week. e.g.
    • personal anecdote
    • good news story
    • photograph
    • piece of art
    • nature
    • blog post
  • Recall a time that you have been politically active in a political party as a volunteer, campaign manager, candidate, or in some other capacity. Or alternatively, have you ever been an activist (e.g., participated in a march, letter writing campaign, blockade, etc.)? What motivated you to become active in a political party or a political activist? If you have never been politically active or an activist, why not?
  • We are now in the ninth month of Covid-related restrictions. Please share one, or several, positive impacts this experience has had on your life and/or relationships. When this is over, how will 2020 not only be a year of loss and limitations, but also one that – because of the virus – we have personally learned something, done something, or experienced something we might not have otherwise?
  • Baking-Do you like to bake, or are you a big believer in getting sweet treats from the bakery instead? Does Christmas inspire you to bake? Do you have an old family recipe that you turn to again and again? Has COVID inspired a new interest in baking? Do you have a recipe or baking disaster you want to share?
  • Select an old photo of yourself that you really like – preferably one that is at least 10 years old.  Tell us the story of that photo – who were you? What was happening in your life?
  • Have you ever done a “gratitude practice,” and if yes, what was it and how did it work for you? Plus, what are the THREE most important things you are grateful for right now?
  • A colleague once told me that he didn’t believe in retirement – that it only happened when we passed away. Up until that point, we are merely ‘writing’ new chapters in our life. In that spirit, describe this current chapter you are living in right now. Where are you in this chapter – a new beginning, a middle, or an end? What 2-3 phrases best describe you in this chapter?
  • I have been fortunate to have had mentors. In school, work and in life. Do you have a mentor you would like to share with us?  How did they mentor you? How did they change your life? It can be more than one person from the past or the present.
  • What do you fear about getting older?
  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • Do you have a favourite childhood Christmas memory?  A Christmas tradition you carry forward?  A new tradition? If you do not celebrate Christmas, do you enjoy the holiday season in other ways?
  • What long term change, or new habit, can you see in your life as a result of this extraordinary COVID period?
  • What are your coping strategies during Quarantine/ LockDown/ COVID19
  • Best Apps for your phone
  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • What are some of your favourite books?
  • What is your Enneagram type?

With thanks to some of the Blogging Zoomers for their contributions. https://retirementreflections.com
http://gideonsockpuppet.blogspot.com/
https://widowbadass.com/
https://behindthesceneryphoto.com/
https://retirementallychallenged.com/

Overcoming Zoomaphopia. How to set up and run Zoom social meetings. Part 1 Setting up Zoom

Summary

This is the first part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.

Introduction

COVID 19 has brought many challenges to everyone, including loss of social contacts and social support. I have found Zoom (and Facetime) to be vital in keeping me connected to people around the world. I had a wide variety of Zoom experiences including teaching students in China online, a Zoom social group (ZSG), playing games with family, and several large business and social meetings. I have found some people are interested in setting up a Zoom meeting with friends and family, but they express anxiety at the prospect of doing so. I am writing this blog to take some of the mystery out of Zoom. The members of the ZSG have expressed a lot of positive comments to me about the value of the Zoom group over COVID19 and I hope that other people will share the Zoom group experience in their own way.

This blog is as of Jan 2021 but things change almost weekly so be patient and ask someone for help. My instructions are for a PC and not a MAC or IPAD or IPhone. You can Zoom on mobile devices, but the functions and settings are fewer.

For MAC users, there is a website with details about Zoom.

Zoom is free for 2 people and free for 40 min blocks for more than 2 people. Currently the paid subscription is $ 20 CDN mo.

Setting up the Zoom app.

If you are the group leader

  1. Decide on who you want to join the meeting and create a group in your email contact program. You will use this again and again. Send out an email to find out if people are interested. Some people will not be interested. Give people a couple of options for time. If you have multiple time zones, specify which time zone you are using.

Get familiar with the Zoom program. Download to your PC or Mac and open the program. Set up an account for yourself.

Schedule a meeting. Click on the Schedule a meeting Icon and open the screen and fill in the relevant information.

Send invitation to members. On the Zoom Home screen click on the 3 small dots and then click on Copy invitation.

Then open your email application and post the invitation.

Add the members from your contact list in the TO: line. Add any information about the meeting, topics or personal messages and send.


The meeting

Have a practice meeting is you are a beginner.

Leader – open Zoom and click on Start for the meeting you have scheduled.

Members- click on the invitation in your email, follow the instructions on the screen, wait to be let into the meeting.

Once you are in the meeting, go through introductions and topics for the meeting. You might have some ideas about the order of speaking, time for speaking, how to interject etc. You might discuss with members. Usually the first meeting is just getting used to Zoom.

Sharing pictures

Once of the most frequently used functions is showing pictures. For PC users there is an icon if you move the mouse over the bottom of the Zoom screen called Share Screen. Before you use the Share Screen you should save your pictures to a short cut on your desktop or task bar before the meeting so they are easy to find.

Click on the photo you want to share or use Control/click to choose more than one.

To exit, Click on the Stop Share command at the top of the page.

Technical Issues

If you do not have a strong WIFI speed, it is strongly recommended you use an Ethernet cable to your computer instead of the wireless network. A short one will cost about $ 25 US but usually one comes with your computer. Connect it from the port on your computer to your wifi Modem. A WIFI speed test is free online. A WIFI speed of 15 is adequate. A wifi speed of 5 or less may interfere with ZOOM transmission.

What not to do

  • If there is more than one household member on the call, it is better for each to have their own screen/device and mute if the other is speaking.
  • I don’t think social meetings of over 10 people work well.
  • Differentiate between a party with family and a discussion/support group. Some meetings are more fun or work better than others. Some can be chaotic, others didactic. Choose your meetings wisely.

PDF of Setting up Zoom Meetings

The 33 Best Retirement Blogs On The Planet – 4Retirees

Whatever you’re interested in reading, we curated the best retirement blogs for you that’s created and run by retirees, for retirees.
— Read on 4retirees.com/the-33-best-retirement-blogs-on-the-planet/

The 25 best and worst work trends of the past 25 years

From #MeToo and Lean In to open offices and remote work, the workplace has transformed many times over in the past two and half decades. Let’s take a look at how we got here.

— Read on www.fastcompany.com/90558785/the-25-best-and-worst-work-trends-of-the-past-25-years

My Social Media Experiences

Social media friends & followers

I was curious to put my experiences on social media down on paper as another blogger asked me about posting blogs to different platforms.  I have also reflected on the pros and cons of the social media platforms I use.

Most of my friends are on Facebook so it is my core friend platform. I have followers on other platforms that are strangers to me. Not many of my friends use the other social media platforms apart from Facebook. I have the impression my WordPress blog is mainly viewed by my followers on WordPress or WordPress Reader.

Word press

In the diagram below I show the distribution of friends and followers among social media sites. The arrows show where I post my WordPress blog.  WordPress does not automatically post to a Facebook Page so I selectively post to my facebook page depending on the topic. I stopped the automatic posting to Linkedin as I did not see many Linkedin readers were picking up the WordPress link. I have posted to Facebook Hornby Island occasionally and this generates a lot of viewers when the topic is pertinent. This group is like a Twitter feed and I have blogged about this. My WordPress blog post is automatically posted to my Twitter feed but I have the impression no one on Twitter reads the link.

My perception of friends and followers use of social media

Pros and Cons of Different Social Media Platforms in my experience.

I went on to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the social media I use and have to confess I am a twitterholic.

Platform pros cons
Twitter
  • Interesting topical posts by experts all over the world.
  • Good way to track social movements.
  • Con pick who to follow
  • Cool get to more followers
  • Easy to post links
  • Too much information (TMI)
  • A lot of repetition
Facebook
  • Most of my friends are on it
  • Limited personal communication
  • Can choose who to follow
  • Ads
Facebook Group Hornby Island
  • Community, new friends.
  • Peek into lives of people you would not normally meet.
  • Interesting posts by people in the community
  • What’s happening on Hornby.
  • Themes are repetitive.
Word Press
  • Community, new friends
  • Peek into lives of people you would not normally meet.
  • Time consuming to post. Not free if you use some extra functions beyond basic.
Instagram
  • Photos and art viewing
  • Very little communication.
  • Hard to use
  • Duplication of Facebook
Linked in Business contacts in theory Very little communication

Seniors using the internet

This study explores internet use by seniors in Canada and mirrors my experience. Seniors uptake of social media increased with the onset of COVID-19. This might be considered a positive spinoff. Tech Use by Older Canadians for Health, Wellness and Independence in the Time of COVID-19. oatechsurvey-sep2020-final-1.pdf

The dark side of social media

In lieu of watching the presidential debates I watched a documentary on Netflix about the effects of use of the internet on society called The Social Dilemma. Ex-employees of major social media companies are interviewed and they raise alarms about intense use of social media. A revealing look behind the scenes.