Whether it’s Teams, Zoom, Houseparty or Hangouts, most of us have been forced to take a crash course in video conferencing apps over the last few weeks. So, we have undertaken an in-depth combined qualitative and quantitative study into the different video caller typologies that have emerged. Or maybe we’ve just been mocking and labelling other Goodstuffer’s webcam etiquette behind their backs. Either way, in these trying times, this shit is important.
See if you can identify yourself in one of the following archetypes…
The Show Home Show-off: A master of webcam angles and flattering lighting, The Show Home Show-Off will jump at any opportunity to share their amateur interior design skills with the rest of the call. Known for casually switching rooms between calls, expect to see very little of their face and a lot of their high vaulted ceiling, gallery feature wall, ‘talking point’ artwork (for them) and deliberately dishevelled bookshelves. A firm rejector of the ‘virtual background’ feature on Zoom.
The Blofeld: A proud pet owner, The Blofeld is desperately eager to show off their furry or feathered friend to win some easy oohs and aahs from their cooing colleagues. Prone to dropping out of calls as a result of a (probably staged) cat walking across their laptop keyboard. Calls with The Blofeld are only really interesting for testing the old adage that pets look like their owners.
The Snooper: Naturally inquisitive, The Snooper will spend most of their time peering over your shoulder and commenting on whatever’s going on behind you. Infinitely more interested in your home or your co-habitor’s movements, this person is embraced by the Show Home Show-off. Just make sure you’ve moved that pile of dirty washing out of view before your call. Top tip: Have fun frustrating The Snooper with Zoom and Team’s ‘blur background’ feature.
The Juggler: Faced with the prospect of trying to entertain, feed and home school their kids while also working from the kitchen table, The Juggler has our sympathies. Prone to looking offscreen in a state of panic and sudden outbursts of swearing as they try to prevent their children from destroying their homes or inflicting untimely harm on themselves. Needs to hone their trigger finger skills with the mute function if our hearing is going to survive this.
The Hermit: The reluctant video caller, choosing to hide behind either a circle featuring their initials, or a 5-year-old photo lifted from LinkedIn. Frequently laments the demise of the good old-fashioned phone call (note, not being back in the office). Expect the number of Hermits to grow over time as more and more people attempt to cut their own hair at home.
The Cam-nesiac: Known for forgetting that their every move can be seen on screen, The Cam-nesiac tends to break most of the basic rules of video calling etiquette. From yawning to nose-picking, noisy-eating to flatulence and loud-typing to checking their phone, a video call with The Cam-nesiac can be a fraught affair. Particularly careless Cam-nesiacs have been known to ‘go viral’, so beware if you self-identify.
The Ron Burgundy: Likes to dress smart to inspire productivity, but only from the waist up. Also known as The Mullet (business up top, party down below), Blazer and Boxers and Tie & Tracksuit bottoms are among the more popular pairings favoured by The Ron. Not to be confused with the more brazen ‘Winnie The Pooh’.
The Winnie The Pooh: Similar to the Ron Burgundy, but only bothers to dress the top half. Whether an unleashed exhibitionist or just grossly averse to laundry, The Winnie is prone to offering inadvertent glimpses of Piglet – and you definitely wouldn’t want to share a honey pot with him. Or a chair.
The Amateur Gardener: A determined sun-worshipper, the Amateur Gardener is absolutely insistent on taking their webchats in their gardens or on balconies, presumably much to the irritation of neighbours. Such is their dedication to their sun god, they resolutely refuse to believe their al fresco ‘hot desk’ results in a piss-poor wi-fi connection, rendering them unintelligible, prone to freezing (digitally, not physically, clearly) and a disruptive presence to any meeting. We look forward to seeing them returning to office life a David Dickenson shade of mahogany and cracking predictable jokes about their ‘holiday in the Staychelles’.
The Tortured Extrovert: Starved of human company and the proverbial water cooler chat, The Tortured Extrovert is always up for a videocall during the day (when a short email would more than suffice) and can’t wait to get on Houseparty at night. Frustrated that the ‘gallery view’ layout on Zoom means sharing equal screen space. Loves a mid-call screenshot that they can post to their Instagram Story later.