Getting Started with Zoom

by John Travers

I first heard of Zoom on the 22nd of March, which we all know is a very long time ago. Since then I have found out that it is an internet phenomenon that has become the dominant video meeting service, crucial for family, friends and business commu­nic­a­tion during the Coronavirus crisis. I have hosted a dozen or so meetings of family and friends and it is very easy to use and very powerful. However this ease of use has led to some security weak­nesses and Zoom has now changed its rules to shut the door to many of the vandals and nuisances who live on the internet. It enables a host to schedule a meeting, send invit­a­tions by email and have the meeting in progress with everyone able to see and hear everyone else within five minutes. 

A guide to getting connected. 

How does one get started? First, download the Zoom App on your computer or tablet from It is a good idea to sign in and create an account but not essential to do so. Your Zoom identity is your emal. Without an account you cannot host a meeting. You actually don’t have to download the app in advance. Once you accept an invit­a­tion the app will download it auto­mat­ic­ally, but it is more efficient to to so in advance. 

To initiate a meeting a host opens the app and clicks New Meeting usually to begin some pre-arranged time. Then the host clicks Invite, selects Email as the means of inviting , and adds the addresses of the invitees, just like any email. 

When the meeting members Jill, receives her invit­a­tion she are asked to click the link at the top of the email. This opens her Zoom app, and in a minute or two she is asked to wait for the host to admit her. She is also asked to choose her audio input (Internet Audio) and she also switches her camera on. 

Meanwhile, the host sees a notice that Jill is ready to to join the meeting clicks Accept. And the meeting can begin when all the invitees are onboard. 

Computer Menu

The computer menu (above) and iPad menu (below) show the Mic and Camera on/off switches. If you don’t see the menu, move the mouse over the screen. The Gallery view is best, which shows all the parti­cipants side by side. The tablet menu is essen­tially the same, but at the top of the screen.

Computer Menu

A most valuable feature is that indi­viduals can share their desktop screen, so can show others in a meeting documents and images and point to and talk about these. Very powerful explaining and teaching.