Terry McAteer: What type of Zoomer are you? | TheUnion.com
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Terry McAteer: What type of Zoomer are you?

Terry McAteer

The other day during my Zoom class on the 1918 Pandemic, an adult student, not knowing her iPad camera was turned-on, proceeded to undress and take a shower while listening to the class. Shortly thereafter, her husband dropped his drawers and joined her in the shower with all 167 other adult student Zoomers watching the show.

The week before, another Zoom student tuned into a class on the Federal Reserve System, didn’t realize her microphone was switched on and got in a nasty verbal fight about her husband’s inability to solve the microphone problem. All 183 fellow students watching this awkward moment cringed.

Welcome to our new world of Zooming!



Four months ago, few of us had ever heard of Zoom and now, in the age of COVID-19, we are at different levels of grasping this new-fangled technology. Having taught scores of classes at this point through the Sierra College Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program, which provides those of us over 50 with online academic classes, I have begun to classify my students. There are about five types of Zoomers, and if you’ve recently become a Zoomer (a person who uses the Zoom platform for cocktail parties, work meetings, family chats, classes, etc) then you know what I’m talking about.

A large percentage of Zoomers my age would be classified as “Foreheaders,” those having trouble positioning their computer camera so all you see is their forehead. These people are definitely in need of a grandchild to assist them in positioning the screen so as not to focus on their forehead or up their nostrils.



Another group of Zoomers should be classified as “Chatty Kathy’s,” as they overtake the Zoom “conversation” through multiple chat comments or continually raise their animated blue Zoom hand. Due to COVID-19, these usually verbal people are now forced to use their typing skills more than their mouth to comment or participate. Often, they are eager to express their knowledge of the topic or like to insert their political beliefs as they are just needing some human interaction during the quarantine.

The Zoom “Exhibitionists” are those who are completely technologically handicapped. You know them, as they are the ones who can’t mute themselves, shower nude with the camera on, yell at their spouse thinking the mic isn’t on, when it is. While they are entertaining, the rest of the Zoomers, especially the “Zexperts” are terribly frustrated and sometimes shocked with their antics.

At the other end of the Zoom spectrum are the “Zexperts” who have figured out how to have a Hawaiian beach scene as their backdrop. We are all jealous as they can “screen share” with ease and know how to use the whiteboard. They are the envy of all Zoomers who hope to reach that classification before COVID-19 is over.

Finally, the most mysterious Zoomers are those known as “Ghosts” whom you never physically see as they have their camera off. They may ask questions, they may chat, they may raise the blue hand and you may hear their voice but you never know what they look like other than their moniker such as “Bob’s iPad.” Certainly, during this pandemic, we’ve all had bad hair days or may lounge in pajamas all day long. But please, “Ghosts,” once in a while, can you make an appearance or some type of apparition to us fellow Zoomers, just for fun?

For those of you Zoomers who are unaware of our Zoom theme song, we have one! A 1990s hit by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, entitled “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” Who knew that Aretha was so ahead of her time with such a great song for the Zoom platform.

Also, those looking for some Zoom fun, you may wish to join our Sierra College OLLI program. Google it, so you can join our academic, no-credit, low-cost, no homework program. See you Zoom … or soon, on Zoom!

Terry McAteer is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His views are his own and do not represent the views of The Union or its editorial board members. Contact him at editboard@theunion.com.


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