To Zoom or
not to Zoom?
- ORGANISE YOUR MOVEMENT ONLINE FOR FREE
WRITTEN BY TWINOMUGISA PIUS
Ever since the unexpected downfall of Skype, Zoom has since risen to champion a new era of video conferencing. It has found its heyday as a world-leading video conference application during the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools, businesses, governments, and organizations across the world conduct their work and lives over Zoom.
REAL TALK FOR ORGANISERS
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Zoom currently boasts over 300 million daily meeting participants, up from 10 million participants in December 2019. The exponential growth of revenues for the company was later threatened by the advent of a Covid-19 vaccine. Stocks dropped immediately when the vaccine was approved.
Zoom’s leadership refuses to offer free end-to-end encryption for free users. Activists and organizers often fall in this category, many of them at risk of state or corporate surveillance.
If you’re not already unimpressed with Zoom because of its unwieldy profits or its cooperation with Big Brother, consider its less-than-optimal log-ins, or other limited features.
If you, your comrades and colleagues are looking to break away from Zoom for any reason, consider the following options:
Google Meet is free. Most people have a Gmail account making it easy a few clicks away from forming a room in your browser with a link you can pass to others. Google Meet’s features are very basic, and it’s difficult to change the way one’s name appears, but it’s quick for those who need that.
If you’re not in need of rooms with many people and are holding lots of one-on-ones (with the occasional +1), Zoho Meetings offers a free plan for those that are not having large meetings and webinars, and a surprising amount of features are included in this free plan.
Jitsi is a 100% open source platform, meaning it is developed collaboratively with the public. It uses hop-by-hop encryption. In other words, it is very secure. Jitsi works fairly well in low-bandwidth contexts where internet connectivity is not strong, and can be accessed in-browser without downloading an app. It has no time limit for meetings and can accommodate 30 video users simultaneously (and up to 300 users without video).
Big Blue Button works well on both computer and phone browsers. This technology, like Jitsi, is open source. It requires better internet stability than Jitsi but has more features, making it useful for workshops, trainings, and larger collaborative sessions.
In selecting a platform that works for you and your movement, do your research. Your team should ask itself what purpose the platform will serve, what level of internet connectivity is required, and what level of security is needed for your purposes.
TWINOMUGISA PIUS is a youth Activist from Uganda.