Zooming our way out of this pandemic

ZOOM MEETINGS: Have become a way of life for many people.

During the pandemic everything’s gone online. From virtual meetings and teaching online to socialising on a screen, many of us have spent a lot of time logged on. But with interruptions from pets and children – and even someone catching fire during a virtual meeting – not everyone’s completely mastered it yet.

As meetings across the UK have been forced onto Zoom, proceedings were bound to get fractious. But one Cheshire parish council meeting went viral after it descended into absolute chaos as power-hungry councillors accused each other of “appalling behaviour” and acting like “laughing hyenas”. This surely beats all those canny school pupils who have been logging in for their 9am Zoom lessons then switching off their cameras and having a snooze!

Zoom meetings join a long legacy of entertaining digital blunders. Last year, we witnessed the curse of the over-zealous toddler interrupting a Sky News correspondent during a live recording to demand a biscuit. And who can forget his embarrassment when Robert Kelly’s small daughter interrupted his   earnest BBC interview about South Korea in 2017?

But if that wasn’t enough, last year Zoom “jazzed” itself up by adding a wacky filter mode. Now you can add a cartoon overlay that effortlessly transforms you into a rabbit, pirate, pig, Frenchman, chef…

Or a cat. By now the whole world must have seen the video of the Texas lawyer entering into a virtual legal hearing only to realise that a filter had turned his entire face into a wide-eyed kitten. “I’m not a cat!” he pleaded with poker-faced colleagues as his huge kitten eyes darted around, stricken with feline panic.

So your Zoom filter, like your Zoom background, can now instantly reflect your entire personality. Apart from the animal filter, there’s the black-and-white and the default zoom filters.

But if you can’t be bothered with all that but still want to “glow” on-screen, all is not lost. Switch on your Zoom beauty setting (bottom left hand corner of your screen), pinch your cheeks, and sit well back.

Job done. Here to help as always!

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as eBook (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, paperback & audiobook.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

Nora Johnson’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.