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It’s hard to say that there are any winners in a pandemic. But if there is one, it’s Zoom.

Zoom is a simple and easy-to-use video conferencing platform. The free version allows you to video conference with up to 100 people at a time. As people across the world are confined to their homes and starving for any kind of human interaction, millions have been flocking to Zoom over other platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts, and even FaceTime.

It’s because of this that we should be officially declaring Zoom the social network of the social distancing era. Sure – platforms like Facebook have been reporting a massive surge in usage. That should be obvious. People are home all day. We’re doing almost nothing but scrolling through our feeds and sharing updates about what’s going on. It remains incredibly valuable for advertisers.

But Zoom is where people are going to make real connections with their real friends in real time. And it might be here to stay. Here are three points to back up that claim.

The numbers are astounding.

The New York Times reported that, last Sunday alone, over 600,000 people downloaded the Zoom app.

Furthermore, app-analytics firm Sensor Tower reported that Zoom is the world’s 2nd most downloaded mobile app across the last week – behind only TikTok. That equals close to 20 million new mobile users over that time. First-time downloads are up 728% compared to the week of March 2nd.

Zoom shares are soaring and the company is now worth nearly $30 billion. Not bad.

People are using it for pretty much everything – not just work.

If you’re like me, you probably initially looked at Zoom solely as a tool for conducting virtual work meetings. We’d both be wrong.

In a time when we can’t leave our houses, Zoom has proven to be the best tool for resuming our otherwise offline social lives. Here are just a few of the ways that people have been using it:

Virtual Happy Hours: By now, you’ve seen the pictures all over social media of people on Zoom conferences with their best friends and their wine glasses. Because is it really a social event if you don’t post about it? If you haven’t seen this, simply search Twitter for “virtual happy hour” and you’ll find plenty.

Full-Blown Parties: At least one of the happy hours above qualifies here. Last week, the New York Times wrote about a college student in Washington D.C. who hosted a Zoom party in which “twenty-one of her friends popped in throughout the four-hour event.Mashable is offering tips on how to do it best. And again, if you search Twitter for “Zoom party,” you’ll find plenty.

NSFW Parties: There’s that too. I won’t go into more detail.

via Slate

Blind Dates: Yes, people are using Zoom to search for their soulmates. A group of Ivy League college students set up a website called OK Zoomer for people interested in meeting new people via Zoom while stuck at home. Brilliant! Check out these FAQs about how it works.

Book Clubs & Watch Parties: Want to get together to discuss your favorite books and movies with likeminded people? You can use Zoom for that, too!

Zoomer’s Book Club!

Sopranos watch party? Count me in!

Comedy Shows: The live entertainment industry has pretty much come to a halt as people are unable to gather in public spaces. Comedians have gotten creative with how they’re honing their craft in front of virtual crowds.

Church: No mass? No problem. Faith takes no breaks and now, thanks to Zoom, faith-based gatherings don’t have to either. Churches across the world are using Zoom to spread the word to their followers. Zoom’s own website even offers Practical Resources for Churches.

And most notably, universities and high schools across the country have turned to Zoom to continue classes virtually as campuses have shut down. Which brings us to our next point… 

Gen-Z is all in.

The last few weeks have brought new meaning to the term “Zoomers.” 

For Gen-Z, it started with classes switching over to the platform. And once they got on, it stuck. A majority of the innovative uses of the platform in the previous section have been led by this generation as they cope with what is essentially forced social isolation in the most socially formative years of their lives.

Between that and Facebook groups like Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens (which is fast approaching half a million members), they appear to be taking it all in stride. The aforementioned New York Times article quoted one Zoomer, saying: “If someone can figure out how to invent a party atmosphere in this socially distant format, I think it will be a mainstay… Twitch is to TikTok as Zoom can be to YouTube.

An interesting outlook.

Zoom could very well be here for the long haul as a regularly used social network – even beyond this pandemic. Only time will tell.

About the Author

Kyle Krajewski

As a creative manager at ChatterBlast, Kyle leads visual and graphic efforts across the company. You can often find him frequenting the number of dog parks in South Philly, where he resides with his fiancé Breezy and shepsky Brenda (IG: @brendatheshepsky).

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