Zoom Etiquette For Baby Boomers

Seven simple rules to avoid online embarrassment

David Martin
Apr 6 · 3 min read
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

For those over sixty, modern electronic technology can be a challenge. From remembering your Amazon password to how to set your PVR, baby boomers often find it difficult to navigate today’s digital universe.

Nowhere is that challenge more apparent than with Zoom, the popular cloud-based, peer-to-peer software platform used for videotelephonic services. Or as baby boomers call it: that Zoom thing.

Luckily, boomers seldom have a problem signing in to Zoom since there’s usually at least one person under sixty in their online group with basic Internet skills. However, they sometimes do have problems abiding by basic social rules and norms. And that’s why there’s a need for Zoom etiquette for the elderly.

Rule №1

The first rule of golden-ager Zooming is to use the video option. Participants prefer to see whom they’re speaking with. But remember that the video option means you can be seen by others. So make sure you are properly groomed and dressed.

That means more formal attire for work meetings. It also means you should do a brief mirror check before signing in to make sure you’re not featuring any extraneous pieces of toilet paper, shaving cream or between-the-teeth spinach. A useful corollary is to check the camera angle to ensure you’re not providing a detailed image of your inner nasal passages.

And be sure to dress from head to toe including pants or a dress. While it may seem unnecessary to wear anything below the waist, remember that you don’t always know what angle your camera is at which could be embarrassing. At the very least, wear boxers instead of briefs and resist the urge to go commando.

Rule №2

Choose a stylish background area in your home for your Zoom appearance. Try to use a space that is uncluttered and features bookshelves, awards and diplomas evidencing your intellect and expertise. Resist using your ratty old rec room with the deer’s head, beer bottle collection and QAnon paraphernalia no matter how comfortable it may be for you.

Rule №3

Ensure that you have adequate lighting. Although a darker environment may help to hide how old you are, you’ll want to avoid looking like a silhouette. At the very least, provide enough light to help identify your race and gender.

Rule №4

Locate the mute button and practise using it. If you’re not speaking, stay on mute. You may think you’re capable of avoiding embarrassing asides, interjections and bodily noises but why take a chance? If you do get caught, just blame another participant.

Rule №5

Don’t fall asleep. This one is harder than it sounds. When the convenor insists on droning on forever, it’s only natural that your body wants to nod off, especially when you’re part of an older demographic. To be safe, keep a coffee on hand or, if necessary, place a bunch of upturned thumbtacks on your desk or keyboard.

Rule №6

As a senior, inevitably you’ll need to take a bathroom break. If necessary, turn off your video and mute the sound before heading to the washroom. If you’re using a laptop, resist the temptation to bring it with you.

Rule №7 — a.k.a. “The Toobin Rule”

Don’t try to multitask. Young people may be adept at juggling different functions at the same time but oldsters aren’t always that efficient. That means no toenail clipping or nasal hair trimming. And even though your phone is right next to the computer, don’t be tempted to dial a 1–900 adult chat line when the Zoom meeting gets boring.

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David Martin

Written by

David Martin has published several humor collections including “Dare to be Average” and “Screams and Whispers”, all of which are available on Amazon.

Crow’s Feet

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” (Frank Lloyd Wright) Non-fiction pieces, personal essays, occasional poems and short fiction that explore how we feel about how we age and offer tips for getting the most out of life.

David Martin

Written by

David Martin has published several humor collections including “Dare to be Average” and “Screams and Whispers”, all of which are available on Amazon.

Crow’s Feet

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” (Frank Lloyd Wright) Non-fiction pieces, personal essays, occasional poems and short fiction that explore how we feel about how we age and offer tips for getting the most out of life.

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