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To Zoom or not to Zoom?

To Zoom or not to Zoom? Delving into the advantages and disadvantages of online networking

Firstly, other networking platforms are also available (that’s that out of the way!). The testing times brought to us courtesy of our modern-day nemesis, the COVID pandemic, have seen us all at the whim of networking sites to keep in touch with our family, friends and colleagues. Whether it be Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google’s Hangouts Meet, Cisco Webex or another of the many purveyors of interaction, online networking has enriched our lives of late, which begs the question, are you ready for a return to the old-style in-person meet up?

Join me as I detail the pros and cons of our increased tech usage, and evaluate its impact on our lifestyles.

A time to redefine

Be it a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, our screens represent the colours of the spectrum thanks to the bundles of apps we are seemingly now unable to do without.

I’ll leave it to those better qualified to offer an extensive breakdown of the technical gadgetry available to us consumers, but wasn’t there a time in the not-too-distant past when our technology was utilised mainly for gaming, bookkeeping or just a clutch of online calls to those we were unable to telephone or meet with?

Well, that was then and this is now!

Our electrical companions are as important to us as our families, it would seem. The restrictions we face have nurtured a symbiosis like no other. With it has come increased interaction with loved ones, continual engagement for pleasure and for business, plus a feeling of synergy with our trusty device.

The good and the bad

Personal preference comes to the fore here.

In my case, would I have been able to launch my business in October 2020 with the odd latte with a small band of pre-existing contacts and a handful of pre-boom Zooms? I have to say it is unlikely.

Would Cornwall be a destination one day and the Isle of Wight the next, just 30 minutes after rolling out of bed? No, most definitely not.

For these two reasons alone, I am keen to extol the virtues of online meetings and networking. Many inspirational people are now on hand at the click of a button thanks to the power of our online networks. It is for this reason I am thankful for the likes of Zoom.

That said, it isn’t a tick in the ‘win’ box just yet for online networking.

The very definition of the term ‘meeting’ is an assembly of people. Yes, our online platforms offer this service, but nothing in my mind will ever fully be able to replicate that coffee with colleagues, beer with friends, or that walk in the park chatting ‘shop’ with like-minded people.

I invite you to think for a moment about a loved one’s birthday celebration. Do you recall constantly talking over each other in a face-to-face meet, only to stop and wait for the other person to continue, when all the while they are doing the same? Granted, there may be the odd occasion this has happened in a public place, but I’d suggest it is much more prevalent online.

So, the next time you head out for a walk, be sure to say hello. I will be the one sat on the fence.

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