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A room with a view: the Twitter account that spent a year staring into people’s homes

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April 08, 2021 at 11:08AM

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As the pandemic forced us inside and online, Room Rater was one Twitter account giving doomscrollers a well-needed levity break. A year on, co-founder Claude Taylor explains how he plans to keep going

With its stately lamp and verdant window view, Hillary Clinton’s “Zoom room” is nicer than most. So when Room Rater – a Twitter account which scores the video conference backgrounds of high-profile figures – gave it nine out of 10 last spring, Clinton took her disappointment to social media: “I’ll keep striving for that highest, hardest glass ceiling, the elusive 10/10,” she tweeted at the account.

Judging the backgrounds on video calls has been the armchair sport of the past year. As we doomscrolled through bleak statistics online, it was cheering to see shots of Meryl Streep’s sterile empty shelves or the copies of Fahrenheit 451 and The Twits awkwardly propped up behind Boris Johnson at a school in Leicestershire. Room Rater just happened to screengrab these moments. Scrolling through the posts a year after it launched in April 2020, these images are emblematic of just how quickly coronavirus forced all of us inside and online.

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