The Zoom Boom

When COVID-19 made in-person gatherings pretty much verboten, Zoom became the way scores of us made or maintained connections with others. My wish is that although we’re now getting out and about more often, the benefits of long-distance meetings and classes on Zoom will not be lost entirely.

As a fairly recent transplant from New York City to Washington State, I was able not only to join the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the American Society of Journalists and Authors but also to participate in the group’s fun and informative monthly conflabs on Zoom. While I was at my computer in Olympia, I met fellow writers and editors from Washington, Oregon, California, and British Columbia. I also caught up with colleagues I’ve known for years because of attending ASJA’s annual on-site meetings in NYC. (Hi, Bruce and Minda!) Trekking all the way across the country to go to meetings in NYC would be a lot less desirable than simply clicking a Zoom link! In fact, even a trip to Portland where the PNW chapter used to meet pre-COVID would be time-consuming. I hope the society and the PNW chapter both continue to meet on Zoom, and I’ve heard the same sentiment from other members. In addition, although my job here at thirdAGE has always been remote, ZOOM allowed me to join a meeting of the parent company in NYC.

On another note, I have a a dual career in journalism and dance. Zoom made it possible for me to keep teaching at the Centralia Ballet Academy here in Washington. We’re back in the studio now, wearing masks, and there are clearly advantages to being right there with the dancers as I give combinations and corrections. Even so, thanks to Zoom we did not lose over a year of classes and we even did a spring performance on an outdoor stage. All of my pieces had been choreographed on Zoom. I am astonished at how pleased I was with the results!

Of course, I’ve also been using Zoom to stay in touch with far-flung family members and friends. Giving hugs can never be replaced by images on a computer screen, but going forward I know we’ll make it a priority to visit long distance more frequently than we could if we always traveled in order to get together.

I hope that Zoom has been a pandemic silver lining for you and yours as well, and that you’ve managed to stay afloat financially while avoiding contracting COVID. Here’s to better days ahead with Zoom as an option but not a substitute for being with others!

Sondra Forsyth is a Co-Editor-in-Chief of thirdAGE.com.

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