Anna Shipman : JFDI

Social distancing quiz

29 March 2020

With our whole team suddenly working from home, we’ve put in a regular Friday 3pm “remote social” for the whole of Customer Products, a team of about 60 people. The idea is to help with the loss of the casual chat and social interaction we get in the office. Last Friday, for the first one, I ran a remote quiz.

The technicalities

We did it on Google Meet, (as a meeting rather than a live stream) and there were 38 people on the hangout. Prior to the quiz I’d asked everyone to self-organise into teams using a Google spreadsheet.

I then asked everyone to set up another channel with their team – a Slack group, WhatsApp group or another Hangout (I didn’t see anyone speaking so I assume it was for most people one of the former).

It wasn’t set up in any way to make it hard to Google answers, which is obviously much easier if you’re already sat at the computer, so I just said “don’t cheat!”.

My initial idea for marking was everyone put their answers into a Google doc and then between rounds, share with another team for marking, but this was chaos; after I’d gone through the answers several teams realised no-one had marked theirs. Then someone pointed out that if we were trusting each other not to cheat, we could also trust each other to mark our own answers, so that’s what we did after that. They then all Slacked me their scores and I put them into a spreadsheet.

One other thing which added to the sense of connectedness, was that as I was going through the answers, people called theirs out, which helped make it feel less one-way.

The rounds

We had two music rounds, two picture rounds, a currencies & podcasts round and a film quotes round. The questions and picture rounds were related to our work at the Financial Times.

The first music round was film songs, prepared for a previous quiz by Nick Ramsbottom. This was a WhatsApp Audio mpeg, and I just played this on my computer.

Then, after I’d given the answers to that, while I was collecting in scores, I shared a link to the first picture round, which was “Name the FT journalist”, created by Luke Kavanagh.

The third round was currencies and podcasts (feel free to have a go at this one yourself, I’ve copied it below!).

I then did a music intros round. This was something I’d prepared for a quiz for some friends about 12 years ago, and this kept going wrong; I had all the files in a folder as .m4as, but if I didn’t stop them quickly enough, iTunes just segued randomly into something else in my iTunes libary, including intros that I’d cut in the interests of time and other tunes completely unrelated (was it shuffling through my entire library? I do not know and did not have time on the spot to find out). The lesson there is: be like Nick and put it all into one file in advance!

While collecting scores for those three rounds, I distributed the next picture round, which was based on ‘People in the news’, a weekly FT column about someone who is in the news at that time, also put together by Luke Kavanagh.

Finally, the last round was film quotes. 1 point for film, 1 for actor and a bonus point for character name. Two of my favourites: “I remember every detail. The Germans wore grey, you wore blue.” and “I guess I picked the wrong week to quit smoking”.

The latter is a favourite because there are in fact 6 available points for that question; the film you probably know it from (and actor and character name), and then the completely straight non-parody film that the first one is based on. (If you’re looking for lockdown activity, watching the two consecutively is fun).

Currencies and podcasts

Here’s a round if you want some light entertainment.

What are the currencies of the following countries?

  1. Thailand
  2. Israel
  3. Iraq
  4. Hungary
  5. Kenya
  6. Vatican City
  7. Pakistan
  8. Syria
  9. South Africa
  10. Peru

Name the FT podcast by filling in the blanks:

  1. C…… C…
  2. T.. R…… R…..
  3. B….. t.. M….
  4. News B….ing
  5. M…. S…

What would I do differently next time?

The quiz overran – we had an hour slot but it actually went to two. I hadn’t realised how long it would all take. Once we realised, most were happy to have it overrun, but if I’d realised in advance, I could have split it in two and had two quizzes for the price of one. My feeling is it is worth trying to keep future socials to little and often because it can get a bit tiring.

A couple of teams missed rounds where I shared the link in the chat. I should have been extra clear on instructions, because when everyone is distributed you don’t pick clues up from what other teams are working on.

Other than that, it went pretty well, I think!

I would definitely do it again

It was a lot of fun – at least, I had fun, and other people seemed to as well. Someone said “THANK YOU so much for doing this quiz, it’s just what I needed, it’s really helping me feel connected with everyone and was great fun!” and my favourite comment in Slack was “this is the most amazingly confusing and wonderful pub quiz I’ve ever taken part in. I have literally no idea what is going on and I’m still enjoying it”.

I think it really helped to have a social event and it was nice to see everyone (and some kids!).

Same time next week. I need to work out how to do charades such that the person silently doing the charades is the main focus, rather than the people shouting out answers. A backing soundtrack? Any suggestions, let me know on Twitter!

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