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Things We Saw Today: Some Truly Excellent Zoom Backgrounds to Use in Your New Zoom Life

Zoom background of KC Green's This Is Fine Dog

The video conferencing service Zoom has become essential in our coronavirus time. Once used primarily for remote workers to join virtual meetings, people are now using Zoom for every conceivable service. My mother attends a Zoom yoga class and a Zoom bookclub; all kinds of academic classes are based on Zoom; Zoom “happy hours” where groups of friends or coworkers call in to drink together are becoming a thing; Zoom dates from afar are happening; I even saw mention of a Zoom sex party. It’s a brave new Zoom world, my friends.

Zoom lets you set a custom background, which is practical—many of us may not want to show off our environs, and plain walls are bleak. The feature can also be a lot of fun, and with so many people Zoom-ing now, many have made and shared their own backgrounds. Of course, brands and other interested parties are jumping on board to get in on the free promotional space, since you’re essentially putting a giant billboard behind you for others to see. Still, for this brief moment in time, folks are being inventive, winking, and zany in their background choices, and backgrounds haven’t been totally co-opted as advertisements or played out as memes yet.

Here are some of our favorites. KC Green’s famous “This Is Fine” dog cartoon with the room on fire is the one I’ve seen pop up most on social media, since it’s so apropos for our times (and now, you get to be the dog!), but there are many, many, many backgrounds to choose from.

The possibilities are pretty limitless here, so go wild. Here’s how to get started with backgrounds on Zoom. (A note about making backgrounds work for Macs: “Mac OS version needs to be 10.13 or higher and, your processor must be an Intel Core i5 with a quad-core or better.” Or else, you need a green screen behind you!)

Happy Zoom backgrounding!

(image: KC Green)

What else did we see today beyond Zoom backgrounds? Do you really want to know?

  • The FBI has killed a man who allegedly planned a bomb attack on a Kansas City-area hospital. (via The Guardian)
  • Today in good news we need: the National Theatre will stream a free play every Thursday night. (via Timeout London)
  • Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, or “young woman governor” as Trump called her, because of course he did, had a few things to say about that. (via HuffPost)
  • Trump’s White House continues to be full-on cartoon villains about getting Americans life-saving ventilators. Wait, that’s an insult to cartoon villains; they were never this evil. (via NYTimes)

It’s the weekend! Even if every day feels like the one before it now, as will the day after! What did you see today?

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.