By Amy Stephenson

The Internet is a catalyst for modern life and for many it is a means to enjoy it. As of late, it seems like everything and everyone is online. But are they?

Many of us still resist, often in fear of not knowing how. This hurdle keeps us from the potential benefits. Isolation is hard and can be dangerous for seniors. From busy schedules, time zone differences and  geographic distance to global pandemics, staying connected is hard. Seeing family and friends helps to bring us together and connects people separated for any reason. One of the most popular tools bringing the world together is Zoom.

So what exactly is Zoom?

Zoom is a free video-conferencing platform, which can be accessed through an App or in a web browser. Zoom creates an online meeting room that lets you invite anyone as a guest. It’s like having a digital dining room with fewer dishes. To join, all you need is a device with an internet connection, phone and  tablet or desktop. If your device doesn’t have a microphone, you can call into the meeting.

How to get Zooming

To get started with Zoom you need to download the app. You can download it directly from or if you have received a link invite, you will be asked to download the app before you join your first meeting. Once you click download, a window may appear asking what to do with Zoom Meeting: choose Run/Allow. Once a Zoom meeting page has opened, the next step is to enter the password if applicable then join with computer audio.

You only need to download Zoom one time. From the app you can easily join a meeting with a meeting ID number or a link often sent via email. To host a meeting, you will need to sign up for a free Zoom account by clicking Sign up. It’s free at

Zoom etiquette

  • Mute your mic when you’re not talking: this helps to reduce background noise and feedback.
  • Point the camera at yourself: take a moment to learn where your camera is and look at it. You can see your video to check that you’re in the frame. It is common to get too close to the camera leaving only the top of your head (hope you’re having a good hair day).
  • Have patience: there will be a delay so it’s best to wait until someone finishes speaking and you hear a pause before you start talking.

For more tips and a user guide, go to and check out their blog on Virtual Visits. Zoom and other online video platforms can help us all stay connected in these times and beyond.