You read it in The News first ……

Radio New Zealand, TVNZ and various print products were wowed by a release last week from Waipā District Council which announced a live-streamed meeting had attracted a huge following.

“Almost 300,000 people from throughout the world have watched a Waipā District Council Zoom meeting on YouTube, many pretending they’re actually in a meeting to avoid family, workmates or chores,” the New Zealand Herald reported, quoting Radio New Zealand.

“More than 300,000 people from throughout the world have watched a Waipā District Council Zoom meeting on YouTube, many pretending they’re actually in a busy meeting to avoid family, workmates or chores,” Stuff told readers.

It all started with a Waipā District Council media release last Friday which announced “a Waipā District Council livestream has almost inexplicably gone viral on the internet as hundreds of thousands of viewers flock to the District Council YouTube channel.

“Comments left behind by viewers paint a better picture of why its [sic] become so popular – many viewers are using the meeting livestream to create the impression of being in a busy, important Zoom meeting,” the release continued.

It quoted viewers saying: “I have used this meeting 6 times now… It feels like I am part of the group now,” and “Good video to use so that no one disturbs me while working”.

Marcus Gower

Marcus Gower

Waipā District Councillor Marcus Gower enjoyed some television exposure discussing the issue too.

Sound familiar? So it should.

“Waipā councillors are polite and well behaved, on live stream at any rate. A lot of readers might find watching paint dry more interesting,” Mary Anne Gill told News readers on May 15.

“Certainly, there were people who tuned into the council’s best rated meeting the Finance and Corporate committee meeting on 21 April 2020 with 131,238 views, who reported these ulterior motives:

  • Literally put this zoom call on at work so it looked like I was busy, I was avoiding having to deal with a stressful individual. And it worked, thank you.
  • Me using this to make my parents think that im studying (followed by a laughing emoji)
  • Anyone else using this just so they can sound like they’re in a meeting so their other family members don’t disturb them while working from home?
  • Is there a US or UK version of this? My misses keeps asking why all the people I work with are Australian when I tell her that I have a meeting I can’t leave…
  • Put the busy signal on my internal Skype and turned this on. Good thing no one actually listens closely to the voices. I throw in a clearing of my throat every so often too.

We tip our hat to the Waipā District Council for getting such great publicity.

Being first with the news is great – we just didn’t expect to beat the nationals by four months.


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