Last year, I experimented with Snapchat Camera on Microsoft Teams and it was a lot of fun. My boss Paul Woods has downloaded it on his desktop camera and naturally, I wanted in.
You download the app onto your desktop and then you can add a variety of Snapchat filters and lenses to your camera making meetings interesting to say the least.
Certainly, they’re a lot of fun to explore.
You can see how much I enjoyed turning myself into a man…
These Snapchat filters and lenses are hilarious however, I have not laughed so much in a long time until Fiona (@whiteowl) showed me the “I Am Not a Cat” video from a Texan lawyer who couldn’t change the settings of his desktop camera.
I can only imagine that someone had downloaded these lenses and that he was unable to remove them or switch them over back to the original settings.
One of the things I have enjoyed during this covid time as more people trying to use the online tools, is the hilarity of them getting used to a new way of communicating.
It just goes to show that many of us are simply no experts to the tools and technology we are using at our fingertips and that we still have a lot to learn. (Me included).
What is made even more difficult is if we need to share that technology with other team or family members who have changed settings and if we don’t know how to alter settings, we do feel vulnerable that situations like this will happen. As these are also recorded, or people record these situations with or without our knowledge, the possibility of them being shown around the world is high.
All our actions – whether in private meetings or not – are now public.
Last week I watched an exasperated French teacher in my Zoom class yell out to a student that she mute herself as we could hear the student’s printer running and she was having a conversation with someone near her. This must have been the student’s first experience of being online because of the distraction she was creating, moving the camera, talking over the teacher, shuffling papers, talking and laughing with her friend and not realising she was a distraction to everyone else.
Personally I found it amusing as everyone yelling “mute yourself!” And getting no where.
Meanwhile I’m desperately trying to think of how to say “Mute her!” in French to the teacher because after all, that’s what she should have done but I couldn’t think of the French words fast enough!
“Cliquez son microphone!” I send the chat to the teacher.
However, it also makes me think that we mustn’t blame technology for our communication misdeeds.
At times, the way we communicate to each other is appalling.
In the same week, Jackie Weaver hosted a meeting of the Handforth Parish Council and it was a free for all with insults. I was disgusted at how people interacted and engaged in meetings and how they acted towards her.
Do they act like this in real face to face meetings?
Or does it being online give them the confidence to act like rude and without consideration?
As much as technology allows us to communicate with each other – it is also a mirror to our lives and how we communicate to each other – the good and the bad. (Just look at the trolling that happens on social media).
Before we just blame the tech and our lack of skills using the technology, we do have to look at how we talk and communicate to each other.
If we treat each other with disrespect and contempt without coming into a communication scenario like a meeting or a lesson without setting expectations and each of us having a voice and an opportunity to express our side without being insulted then it’s not the fault of tech, it’s will always be our fault.