OK, I’ll admit it. I don’t have an official Zoom account despite the numerous Zoom calls or Zoom meetings I’ve been part of since we were all told to shelter at home. Who needs yet another username and password to remember? Don’t I already have enough? Besides, I haven’t had to originate or host any Zooms.

A few months ago, though, I noticed a friend had a picture display when she turned her camera off during our Zoom happy hour. Hmm! I thought that looked a lot nicer than the black rectangle with my name. When I found out the feature was only available to people with an account, I was tempted. But I’d have to choose which picture to use, so I decided against it.

Two weeks ago, I was in a Zoom meeting. To my surprise, several of the participants (from the same company) were using a cool effect that blurred out the background while at the same time focusing nicely on them. Since they were all from a technology firm, I assumed there was some tech wizardry going on to which I would have no access. Last Friday, I was on another Zoom with folks from a non-tech, non-profit organization, and they had the same Hollywood effect going on. Wait, what?!

Now I find out the background obscura spell is a new feature available to everyone who has an official Zoom account. Aaaaargh! I want it! Every time I put up a virtual background to block what’s really behind me, the edges of my head flicker in and out of the picture, literally. It isn’t a good look. Having a glowing halo surrounding my face? Yes! I NEED it.

After a year of resisting the addition of one more set of account credentials, my will is growing weaker. Very weak. Slipping away.

I may . . .

just have to . . .

sign up. (Sigh!)

Do you use the new background blur feature? Do you display a custom picture when your camera is off? Do you Zoom?

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