Music: "Steam" by Peter Gabriel / © 1993 Peter Gabriel Ltd.
During 2020 and 2021, I did a lot of online presentations. A lot of online presentations. One of the things I always try to do is to get access to the event platform ahead of time so I can try things out, see how screen sharing looks from the other end of the connection, check audio quality, and all the little details that can end up making a big difference to the audience on the day of the presentation.
I’ve done presentations on Zoom, Webex, iChair, Hopin, Pine, Gathertown, Jitsi, vMix, Skype, YouTube – and the platform that’s caused me more headaches than any other is… you guessed it. Microsoft Teams.
Now, I’m sure if I was a system admin managing a network with 15,000 users and I needed an integrated video and chat platform that plugged into my existing security infrastructure, I’d find a lot about Teams to love. I get why it exists, and I understand that as an independent consultant who manages all my own infrastructure I’m probably nowhere close to Teams’ target market.
But… wow. I’ve had an event where the only way to get the speakers onto the platform was to give them all a new email address. I’ve had one where we spent over two hours trying to get video to work. Any video at all. Nope. I’ve joined events as a spectator where the meeting host had no way to mute participants or switch off their video - that’s a fun way to accidentally crash the virtual stage.
It has got a lot better recently. But I absolutely swear that I spent less time creating this song than I’ve spent trying to figure out how to make Teams work properly.
Company meeting, everybody’s out of sync,
I’m trying to join,
clicking on, clicking on this link, this link
Is it Teams,
‘cos I don’t feel like I can deal,
With all the broken login schemes,
The UI is gonna make you scream,
You know your Discords from your Slacks,
You know your email from your fax,
You remember IRC, NNTP and Jabber too,
You know your Jitsi from your Meet,
Your virtual background’s pretty neat,
When all the other tools are down, there’s always gather.town, and ICQ
You know your way around online,
You know your Hopin from your PINE,
You know the time in Amsterdam, Seattle, Milan, and Timbuktu
You speak at virtual events,
Can’t even see your audience,
It’s like you’re talking to the void, it’ll leave you paranoid and feeling blue,
Everybody Facetime, Telegram, Signal, Chime,
Webcam, microphone, Sat at home, all alone,
Zoom, shake, head ache, find a way to stay awake,
Seven hours without a break, This is more than I can take!
We’re working in Teams, baby,
Yeah we’re working in Teams, around here now,
Yeah, we’re living in the future
And believing all the hype,
Just don’t ask any questions
About what happened to Skype,
We’re shipping all our features
Got to hit that milestone,
Gotta keep talking, talking, talking
but no-one’s talking on the phone,
We’re on Teams, baby,
We’re running on Teams around here now…
Just gimme some Teams