People Using Random Zoom Meetings Found on YouTube to Pretend to Work

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People trying to dodge work and avoid small talk have been turning to an unlikely tool — pretending to be in a meeting by playing Zoom recordings they found on YouTube.

In 2020 and 2021, organizations like the software company GitLab and the City of Santa Fe uploaded videos of their Zoom meetings on YouTube.

Though the videos were probably meant for record-keeping purposes, some people have figured out that playing them on one’s computer is a neat way to look busy.

“I use this whenever I need people in the house to leave me alone lol. It gives me a good 2 hours of alone time when needed,” one person commented on GitLab’s Zoom recording.

The video, uploaded in June 2021, has been viewed over 290,000 times as of press time. It has also received over 200 comments, with some expressing appreciation for the video’s existence. GitLab’s channel has over 11,000 videos and more than 28,000 subscribers.

“This meeting has been of more use to me than any other meeting at work that could’ve been an email,” read another comment.

Others found it amusing that there was a fledgling community of such viewers.

“I can’t believe I found my people! I thought I was the only one. I can’t stop laughing,” another person commented.

Based on YouTube comments seen by BI, the trend appears to have been going around since 2020.

“This really came in handy during COVID’s high days,” one person commented on the City of Santa Fe’s video. “This really did the job of getting people to leave me alone in my home office between meetings.”

The City of Santa Fe first streamed the video in April 2020. Since then, the video has been viewed more than 167,000 times. The channel has over 1,700 videos and over 2,300 subscribers.

It’s not just work. Students are also using Zoom recordings of online classes to escape their parents.

“Sometimes in order to get out of things I will put this on and pretend I’m in class so my parents can’t bother me for hours,” read a comment to a history class by a history professor at Thomas More College, Patrick Eagan.

Some even offered tips on how to make the ruse more convincing.

“Every now and then I’ll pause it at a good point between them talking to make my voice heard contributing to the ‘meeting’ lol. Gets the full effect in!” read one comment on GitLab’s video.

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