By Audrey Kingstrom
HumanistsMN has gone viral! Well, in a manner of speaking. As most of you know by now, in this era of public-health social distancing, we have stopped meeting in person and are offering a good share of our programming online.
We have purchased a license for the very popular and easy-to-use Zoom platform. The cost is reasonable, and the benefits are great. It’s easy for facilitators to set up a meeting and then provide a link to the event through our Meetup site. Participants simply click on the link at the appointed time and join the group.
I’ve hosted and participated in several of our regularly scheduled events this past month through Zoom – our monthly gathering, a Happy Hour, our Secular Grief Group, and a Mindful Living session. At this last meeting, I even figured out how to use the break-out feature so we could divide into three smaller, more manageable groups for discussion part of the time.
While I would much rather be meeting in person, gathering online has its advantages. At a couple of our events, people from greater Minnesota have been able to join us – from St. Cloud and Brainerd. And sometimes it’s just nice not to have to go out, to be able to participate from the comfort of your own home and not deal with rush-hour traffic, for instance.
Even after this health crisis has abated, conducting HumanistsMN business — for example, board meetings or membership meetings— through Zoom, especially in winter, will be a welcome option.
Given the popularity of Zoom, unfortunately but not surprisingly, security issues have arisen. “Zoombombing” has become a thing – where uninvited attendees break into and disrupt meetings. Hence, Zoom has begun to upgrade its security measures. Now Zoom links are only available to people who have RSVP’d to events. Other changes may be forthcoming.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are having any trouble with using this online platform or have any ideas or concerns about HumanistsMN programming. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.