More than two years have passed since the offices were closed and millions of people started work from home. More than enough time to buy a ring light, hang pictures on the walls and find out where the mute button is. But, as is clear to Claude Taylor, co-creator of the Room Rater profile on Twitter, which assesses the background of video callsThat is not what happened.
“Your rating isn’t going to be good,” he warned me, glancing at my walls with nothing on them and poorly lit by Zoom. “You need to hang up some artwork. Put a big picture there!” Taylor rated my scenario a three, though he softened the score with a little warning. “All this is just a joke,” he said. “We are not interior designers. We just pretend to be on Twitter.”
There was a time in April 2020 when hand sanitizer was hard to find, there was plenty of time, and perhaps, to be distracted amidst the fear and uncertainty of a violent pandemic, those lucky enough to be stuck at home, amused themselves by judging other people’s houses. Taylor and her friend Jessie Bahrey started posting their opinions on Twitter. Celebrities scrambled to get better Room Rater scores, outfitting their homes with plants, posters, and the must-have copy of Robert Caro’s The Power Broker.
“In the space of months, the people that we had rated two and three were becoming eights, nines and tenes,” said Taylor, who has written a book with Jessie called How to Zoom Your Room (How to show your home on Zoom, in free translation), released this week. “People have improved a lot (their decorations). Obviously we take some credit for that.”