I have a confession to make: I hate Zoom calls. Hate them. Not just Zoom, but Skype, House Party, the lot of them. No situation should ever require my sweaty face beaming out all lopsided and weird. In fact, unless I’m required to save the world like Bruce Willis in Armageddon, and this is my goodbye video, just keep me out of it.
Look, I get it. Video conferencing apps are great for staying in touch with friends and essential for work, but in a few short weeks things have gotten way out of control. I see people more now on lockdown than I ever did before. I really don’t have enough interesting conversation to fill the new slots.
So, I found myself in something of a predicament. My displeasure at seeing myself onscreen versus the fact that people who video call without the video on clearly have something to hide. Perhaps salvation lay in the Zoom beauty filter? I certainly welcomed its news with the type of joy and happiness normally reserved for returning war heroes or released kidnap victims.
At this point, you may be surprised to learn that I’m dead against social media filters. It’s getting to the point where I can’t really trust what anybody looks like on Instagram anymore. To me, the apps that make you look thinner, more chiseled and generally hotter are part of everything that’s wrong with the world. The only filter we should all take seriously is the one that makes you look like Joe Exotic.
But I thought, well, Zoom filter, where’s the harm in that? This would just be a bit of fun, only viewable to a close group of friends and colleagues. I’m not trying to be a Kardashian, just distract from the fact that I probably haven’t washed my hair in the last 48 hours.
And so, following just three clicks in the app (settings – video – touch up my appearance), I was set to debut my newfound beauty on the afternoon GQ call.
Full disclosure, nobody noticed. At least not until I asked.
To be fair, the changes you see are minor. Click the filter on and off an you kind of have to squint to see the difference. I also had the Northern Lights going hell-for-leather as my virtual video background, and defy anybody not to pale into insignificance when up against Aurora Borealis. However, when I asked people to take a look, there was an agreement that I certainly looked sharper. At least once the laughter had subsided. They liked what they saw, and proceeded to surreptitiously turn their own beauty filters on.
Is it worth using yourself? Yes, why not. Your skin looks better, your complexion a little clearer. It certainly made me spend less time considering how much of a mess I appeared and more time actually contributing to the meeting.
Ultimately, working from home is difficult enough as it is. If a little face tuning will help your confidence, then why not. As for me, I’m not saying I’m hooked, but let’s just agree that I may or may not have spent the next 30 minutes seeing if there was a filter that could do something with my hair as well. Get that thing sorted, I thought, and that corner office is as good as mine.