What is Zoom for online meetings?

With orders to stay at home during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, meetings are going virtual, and Zoom.us is quickly being adopted as the tool of choice for friends, families, businesses and organizations to hold online meetings. Whether you just want to get together with a few friends for happy hour, keep your Book Club going, or manage a community meeting when no one can come to the Community Center, Zoom might be your answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Zoom meetings?
    It’s a website (Zoom.us) and apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS that provide tools for holding online group meetings. Meetings can include video, audio and screen sharing by any participant.
  2. How does Zoom meetings work?
    One person sets up a meeting and “hosts” it, inviting others to “join” by sending them a link with the meeting ID.
  3. How much does Zoom meetings cost?
    It is completely free to host a meeting for 100 participants up to 40 minutes. A “Pro” account costs $14.99/mo. and allows meetings up to 24 hours. See Plans & Pricing for more. People who join the meeting can have a free account, or even no account at all.
  4. Does Zoom meetings really work?
    I’ve been involved with several groups who use Zoom meetings over the last few years and we have nothing but praise for how easy and effective it is. Zoom has a well-deserved reputation for having excellent video and audio quality – even in this time of unprecedented usage. The only thing we have found that degrades the experience is the quality of the Internet connection on the participants’ end.
  5. Is Zoom safe and private?
    Zoom’s popularity has skyrocketed, from 10 million daily users just 3 months ago to 200 million today. That kind of activity is bound to attract bad actors. There have been reports of “zoom-bombing” (think photo-bombing) where uninvited guests crash your meeting and display hate speech or porn. This can be avoided by requiring a password for your meeting, and/or changing settings so that only the host can do screen-sharing.
    The company is taking these reports seriously and working hard to make Zoom more secure. But, they need to walk a fine line. Total security is at one end of a line, ease of use is at the other. It’s not an easy job. Here is what the company CEO has to say.

What does a Zoom meeting look like?

Although it is truly easy to host and join a Zoom meeting, there is a lot it can do, and plenty to learn. Below is a video recording of a one-hour Zoom meeting with 50 people. Everything taught here is written up in detailed notes at Episode 187, and also see the video and written notes at Episode 186.

 During the one-hour meeting we offer How-To information on many topics:

  • How to mute and unmute your microphone while in a meeting
  • How to change the name displayed with your picture
  • How to view everyone in the meeting (gallery) or just the person speaking
  • How to display a virtual background rather than the messy office behind you
  • How to share your computer screen with the entire meeting

In addition to our Beginner’s Zoom lesson in Episode 186, and our Real, 50-person Zoom meeting in Episode 187, here are 4 short videos:

Stay healthy my friends.