As in person events become more and more unfeasible, bookstores are looking for effective online alternatives. One of the most popular of those is Zoom, the video conference platform SIBA uses for its own webinars and online office hours.
Of course some people just can’t have nice things. No sooner had Zoom become the go-to alternative for events, than “zoombombing” became a thing: Internet trolls, taking advantage of open and public meeting links to log on and hijack meetings by sharing highly inappropriate material from a series of sock-puppet accounts. Meeting hosts found they had lost control of their own meetings and were unable to control the behavior of trolling attendees. Some meetings even had to be canceled.
Luckily, Zoom has some built-in safeguards that are easy to enable and will prevent troublemakers from gate-crashing your online event.
For public (open) meetings:
- Never use your Personal Meeting ID to host public events. Once that information it out there, anyone can use it to log into your personal meeting space. Always general a new meeting ID for every planned event.
- Enable your waiting room, so you can control when people come in to your meeting.
- Mute all attendees on entry. Even if your attendees are well behaved, random background noise from open microphones will disrupt your event.
- Disable video for attendees. A troll can’t do much if no one can see them.
- Only allow the host to share their screen. It’s your event, don’t let attendees hijack the stage.
For private or restricted meetings
Stores that are planning on using Zoom to replace cancelled author events should go a step further and control attendance by managing who is allowed to sign on. Here are some options:
- Use a guest list and have users sign in to join the meeting. If you sell tickets through an application like Eventbrite, you can create a guest list from your ticket purchases and prevent unknown users from accessing the meeting.
- Lock the meeting once it has begun, to avoid unwanted disruptions.
- Assign a meeting password. You can share your meeting ID publicly, but provide the password only to authorized attendees through Direct Messaging.
- Turn off extra features that might cause a distraction: file transfers, annotations, even private chat.
- Assign a cohost who is responsible for managing chat and attendees so you can concentrate on the presenter.
For detailed instructions on each of these steps, visit the zoom blog: