If you happened to be asleep over the past two years, here is a quick recap.
ZOOM is a cloud-based video conferencing app that can run on a computer or desktop. During the Covid-19 crisis ZOOM has seen a massive increase in popularity.
Millions of remote teams around the world are switching to working from home. Just like "Googling" is something akin to any web search, the term "Zooming" has become ubiquitous and a generic verb to replace having a video call.
Attendees in a ZOOM meeting are able to have one-to-one and group chats. They can also use features like screen sharing and recording of the meetings.
Even though ZOOM is great for video conferencing, switching to complete remote work didn't come without any challenges. While screenshots of group gatherings in a ZOOM grid have become popular on social media, so did ZOOM fails and an emergent phenomenon we call the dreaded zoom fatigue. An increasing number of online participants felt drained by the quality and amount of meetings they were having.
Video conferencing is a great way to stay productive but it cannot completely replace the real life interaction. Life of a team with a physical office differs drastically from that whose members work remotely. The social aspect of being in an office is gone. Sudden moments of creativity next to the water cooler are hard to come by. Having drinks after work or a lunch catchup with a couple colleagues is not as fun as it used to be.
Flat.social is here to help you create fun and playful team meetings and remote events. It's to ZOOM what a cocktail party is to a business meeting. Our mission is to build the most fun place to hang out on the internet and we believe that this is best achieved through making online meetings more interactive and fun.
Participants in a flat.social meeting has the freedom to move around like they would in any multiplayer game. Spatial audio & video is on by default which means only those who are close can hear and see each other. Want to talk with someone? Simply fly up. Want to talk with someone else? Just fly away and get close to the person or group that you would like to engage. It's as simple as that.
This is in stark constrast to how a meeting on ZOOM operates. In flat.social you're not stuck in the grid and can interact with others in a spontaneous and casual way.
Absolutely not! It's a solid piece of software which supports the daily activities of many teams around the world. But, when it comes to organizing something that aims to be more fun and creative, using ZOOM becomes challenging.
Imagine you're giving a presentation to 100 people in your company. The only job the participants have to do is to sit down, listen and maybe ask some questions on the chat. This is a great use case for ZOOM. Challenge arises when you want the event attendees to interact with each other as well.
During a physical event - for example a conference or an internal company presentation - attendees were able to interact with each other. When becoming a participant of something that is more of an oligarchic webinar, it's much harder to network and connect with other people who are attending it.
Flat.social doesn't aim to completely replace your team's use of ZOOM or any other main video conferencing software that is currently in use. It aims to make your social meetings more fun. While not every meeting has to be fun, having no playful moments with your team at all is not only going to hurt their creativity but also make them feel less engaged as a team member.
Below are a couple ideas on how you can use flat.social to help your team feel like a team again and bring a bit of joy and fun to your remote team's life.
Whenever you form a new team or want to make sure that everyone knows each other. That new person that just joined your project a couple days ago? They might've been sitting in the virtual corner engaging only with two people who they work with directly.
Co-located team members have the opportunity to engage in lunchtime activities together that very often are the moments when more casual conversations happen. Those who moved to virtual work or are simply located in a different place, have had less change for that.
Each flat created in flat.social is an always open space that guests can join at any time. You don't need to create an event in a calendar to start a meeting. In the virtual, anyone can join whenever they want and move to any location within the virtual space that fits them the best. This creates an excellent ground for meetings and interactions that happen spontaneously. Just like next to that water cooler in the kitchen when you still worked in a physical office.
It's not just work that happens virtually - it's also studying! Students who are not co-located together in the same school or university have less chance to network with each other and create long lasting connections. With flat.social it's possible to create events where students can meet each other and talk in a more casual setting. Read more about using flat.social for distance education.
The spatial aspect of flat.social can act perfectly as a virtual space where multiple people are presenting their work, interests or business. Simply choose which map you would like to use and instruct the presenting participants to select areas of the map that they would like to set up their booths in. Guests who attend the event will be able to move around and interact with presenters just like they would do in any physical fair or a presentation event.
Any room in flat.social can act as an interactive real-time whiteboard. Attendees can collaborate together using tools like sticky notes, sharing images, drawing and screen sharing. They can place those elements around the virtual space to create presentations or sketch out ideas quickly. The casual nature of a flat.social meeting promotes creativity and fun while brainstorming in a space where everyone is free to move around and engage.
The good, the bad and the daily. Scrum rituals are an essential part of daily routines for any team that works in an Agile environment. Daily standups with flat.social, while quick and simple, can be a great way to bring a little bit of playfulness and engagement into your team's day. Agile Retrospectives are also an additional use case which flat.social is a great platform for, we even have a special map for it :)