Zoom & Video Conferencing – the new normal

Online meetings and video conference have been around for a long time. They are central to the promised land of home working & distributed teams; freeing us from the tyranny of geography – or so we were promised.

Technologies like Zoom have quite happily plodded along for years – doing well, getting more users, spreading the word. We’ve been using Zoom etc for a long time – all the Glass Mountains team are remote, and given that a load of our clients are in the US, you have to embrace such tech if you want things to work.

However, such tech isn’t straight forward.

Admittedly, Zoom is probably clunkier than most (e.g compared to Uber Conference). So, as useful as the tech was, could it have been classed as mainstream? Probably not.

Covid changed all that….

But that’s changed.

Lockdown restrictions mean everyone has to embrace video conferencing.

And a tool that is getting a lot of attention is Zoom. Just see how Google Trends has reported searches of “Zoom” going through the roof:

Google Trends view of searches of Zoom over time


The beauty of that spike is that it means “upskilling“.

Think about it: think of all those people out there who, in almost one mass lesson, have now learned how to use Zoom (and, by definition, pretty much that whole class of video conference software).

Will they simply forgot those skills when they go back to normal? (Whatever ‘normal‘ means. and whenever that is).

I don’t think so.

I think what has happened here is that we’ve seen a gear shift where the ability to deliver online via video conference is now an accepted norm. It was always technically possible, but it wasn’t widely accepted.

A brief detour: Workshops

To put his into perspective, please allow me to digress. A good few years ago I used to run workshops on WordPress blogging etc – I used to run these from the old office in Newport. Folks would turn up and we’d spend a morning session on a topic. It was mildly stressful as you had to spin plates but I found out I was quite good at the teaching thing, and folks walked away happy, and walked away thinking I knew what I was talking about (ha!). This then led to follow on work. Great.

Over time, for whatever reason, I got out of the habit of running them. We were busy with work coming in, word of mouth referrals regularly just dropped in so there was no need to think differently.

However, it bothered me that we stopped running the workshops as, as I say, I liked running them – why stop doing a thing you like? So before Christmas I started looking into premises to run workshops (as the old Newport office had long gone). I didn’t have much luck finding premises or the ones I did find were charging big bucks – which meant I would have to charge more for the workshops than I wanted to. Then, in my lightbulb moment, I thought “Well, what about online?”.

And the answer was “Yes, that could work easily. And we don’t have any bricks and mortar costs to worry about“.

However what stalled me was:

  1. Which tech shall I use?
  2. Do I have the energy to promote it?

My internal answers to those two questions (probably based on laziness) meant that it was easier for me to file the idea under “Yep, we can do that – when I can be bothered to get around to it“. I.e. I long grassed the whole concept.

Covid changes all that (again)….

Come lockdown, decisions were forced on me.

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I was aware that I’d let word-of-mouth dominate Glass Mountains new work for years – which let me off the hook as I didn’t have to be proactive. Work has been quieter recently which has finally been the tipping point for doing what we should have done years ago. I.e. be more proactive, get on the front foot, look what we can easily do by playing to our strengths.

So, the situation forced me to finally get off my bottom and dust off the online training idea. Initially this will be a WordPress Webinar, but I’m sure it will morph and evolve as we get into it & find our feet.

The second decision that was made for me was Zoom. It’s not my preferred tool but pretty much everyone knows about it now and has used it. My audience is made of people and businesses who use WordPress for their websites – they are not particular techy people – so if Zoom is a tool which they understand then I’ll use that – warts and all. If Zoom lowers the barriers to us talking to folks, then that is fine be me.







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