As the Internet grows and more and more of us create content for and communicate on the Web, the tools that help us complete our tasks get even better. And our options are vast. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right tool for the job. Today I want to talk about two excellent tools I use to A) communicate face to face with people online and B) give people instruction with the help of screen-casts and video. I’m talking about Zoom and Loom.
Online tools: Zoom
Back in the day, you had Skype. That was really about it. Okay, there were several others, but it was obvious to see that Skype was a big player in the videoconferencing space. With faster internet speeds and better quality video streams, came a lot of players into this space. But one that is really rising above the rest is Zoom. For awhile, I was using it every day. It allows you to jump on a video chat with up to 1000 (yes, 1000) people. I’ve never pushed this past about 12, but it’s nice to know it’s an option. Here are just some of the benefits they tout:
- HD video and audio: Bring HD video and audio to your meetings with support for up to 1000 video participants and 49 videos on screen.
- Built-in collaboration tools: Multiple participants can share their screens simultaneously and co-annotate for a more interactive meeting.
- Meet securely: End-to-end encryption for all meetings, role-based user security, password protection, waiting rooms, and place attendee on hold.
- Recording and transcripts: Record your meetings locally or to the cloud, with searchable transcripts.
- Streamlined calendaring: Support scheduling or starting meetings from Outlook, Gmail, or iCal.
- Team Chat: Chat with groups, searchable history, integrated file sharing, and 10 year archive. Easily escalate into 1:1 or group calls.
So that’s it. You want a solid platform for a face to face meeting, Zoom is a good choice. And it’s free to use (limited time, but still enough to get the job done)
Online tools: Loom
I didn’t write this post to compare two products that rhyme, I promise. It just worked out that way. The second tool that is absolutely fantastic is Loom. Essentially, it’s a platform that allows you to make quick videos using a lightning-fast video recorder capable of capturing your screen, webcam, and microphone. You can even narrate the screen with a small video icon of yourself if you really want to personalize the videos. A good argument this company makes is that you talk 6x faster than you type. So Loom can essentially replace a lot of email, phone calls and any other forms of communications if utilized the right way.
I have not taken it to that level as I have just started to play with and use this solution. But it’s true – you can clarify points and explain situations a lot faster using video than you can with typing anything. Loom captures your screen, voice and face and the ability to quickly share your video with anyone. Here are some highlights:
- Fast Recording: Easily record your screen or a specific app, with or without your camera.
- Instant Sharing: Hit stop, and a link is automatically copied to your clipboard to share.
- Easy Editing: Trim your videos, add calls-to-action and custom thumbnails.
- Rich Reactions: Viewers can express themselves and react to your video with emoji and comments.
- Controlled Viewing: Require a password or make your video viewable only to specific email addresses.
Now, I was a skeptic because I thought ‘there are a million ways to screen cast your screen’. And yes, that’s true. But Loom is dead simple and has additional tools for you to use it way more effectively. I’m looking forward to using it a lot more to replace instruction in other platforms, emails and even face to face calls.
I’m always interested to hear what tools you are using. If there is something you think I should check out, drop it in the comments and I will! Here’s to staying efficient and productive!