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Let’s hope your boss isn’t reading this.
A Brooklyn developer and artist has created a digital tool called Zoom Escaper that lets users get out of boring work-related video calls.
“Zoom Escaper is a tool to help you escape Zoom meetings and other telecommunication scenarios,” creator Sam Lavigne wrote on Twitter Monday, launching the project. “It allows you to self-sabotage your audio stream, making your presence unbearable to others.”
Among other things, it mimics digital interference and disruptive outside noises.
And it has meeting attendees thrilled: The announcement has more than 3,000 likes.
The digital destroyer is the perfect antidote to Zoom fatigue, a term for the overwhelming feelings of deflation and exhaustion caused by a year of working and learning remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On Zoom, behavior ordinarily reserved for close relationships — such as long stretches of direct eye gaze and faces seen close up — has suddenly become the way we interact with casual acquaintances, co-workers and even strangers,” wrote Jeremy N. Bailenson, in a paper he recently published about the new phenomenon in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior.
Despite its name, Zoom Escaper can be used “in any program that uses your microphone,” including Google Meet, Lavigne said.
Users can download the program at ZoomEscaper.com for free. Lavigne has detailed instructions for use available there.
Effects include technical difficulties such as delays, echoes and choppy audio. They also include some outside interference, such as the sounds of a man crying, a strong wind blowing, a baby crying, construction and dogs barking.
You can also upload your own disruptive sounds to the website.
Just make sure you test it out with a friend before trying to duck out of a work call: Users can’t hear the sound effects during a meeting — only the other participants.
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