Preparing for America Talks

Follow these steps before the America Talks event to help ensure that your conversation goes smoothly.

1. Join using a laptop or desktop.

For the best experience, we highly encourage you to join the event from a laptop or desktop computer. While you will be able to join using a phone or tablet, the small screen size will make it difficult to see your conversation partner(s) and the conversation guide at the same time.

2. Update your browser.

We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox if you’re on a laptop or desktop computer. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, please use Safari. If you’re using an Android device, please use Chrome.

3. Set up your camera and microphone.

Click here and follow the prompts to make sure everything is working properly.

4. Log into Kazm.

There’s nothing worse than trying to hunt down your password last minute! You created a Kazm account when you registered for America Talks. Go to the America Talks Kazm page and click “Log In” at the top, then sign in using the same method you used when you registered. If you don’t see a Log In button, it means you are already signed in.

Troubleshooting Tips

Having trouble during your conversation? Follow the tips below.

Trouble connecting to Audio or Video

Your camera and microphone will not be active during the livestream. Once conversations begin, you will be prompted to allow Kazm access to your camera and microphone.

Check your Audio/Video Settings:

  • Within your Kazm breakout room, click the three dots (. . .) in the bottom left and click “Audio/Video Settings” to select the correct camera and microphone.
  • Be sure to “Allow” camera or mic access if prompted.
  • Make sure your camera and microphone are plugged in (if applicable) and not muted.
  • Still not working? Troubleshoot A/V issues.

Refresh the page: Click the refresh button in the upper-right corner or refresh your browser. You will stay in the same breakout room with your partner(s).

Close other programs: Close Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other programs that use your camera and microphone.

Manage camera and microphone permissions: You should have been prompted to allow Kazm to access your camera and microphone. However, if you need to manage those permissions directly, see instructions below:

  • In Google Chrome, click the padlock to the left of your address bar and set Camera and Microphone to “Allow”. You might need to reload the page after doing so. More information.
  • In Mozilla Firefox, click the padlock to the left of your address bar and set Camera and Microphone to “Allow”. You might need to reload the page after doing so. More information.
  • In Safari, go to Preferences, then click the Websites tab. Select Camera. Find kazm.com, and be sure the camera permissions are set to either Allow or Ask.
    Next, go to the Microphone section and do the same thing.

Try a different device or browser: We recommend Chrome or Firefox on a laptop or desktop, and Safari if using an iPhone or iPad. When you enter the event again from your Kazm account you will be placed in the same room.

Video choppy, jerky, or blurry?

Video quality varies in browser-based apps. To improve video quality, try the following:

  • Move closer to your wireless router
  • Close other tabs or programs that may be using the internet
  • Switch to a recommended browser. We recommend Chrome or Firefox on a laptop or desktop, and Safari if using an iPhone or iPad. When you enter the event again from your Kazm account you will be placed in the same room.
  • Reduce motion

Hearing background noise or echo?

Echo usually improves soon after the conversation starts. If echo persists, please mute yourself while your partner(s) are speaking.

How the Platform Works

America Talks uses the Kazm video conversation platform. Please review this brief description of the Kazm platform so that you are familiar with its main features. (Note: As a browser-based video hosting platform, Kazm works a bit differently from an application like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, which require downloading software to your device).

  • The Kazm platform requires only a compatible device, supported browser, and active network (WiFi, ethernet, or cellular). 
  • Enter your assigned URL into your browser’s address bar to enter the platform.
  • To leave the conversation, simply close the active browser tab. Be careful not to do this during the conversation!
  • Kazm asks users to authenticate via email or an active social media account. This information is only used to authenticate you as a user on the platform (i.e. not a troll), and is not shared with your conversation partner or any third parties. 
  • Only the onscreen identifier you choose (e.g. first name) will be displayed to your conversation partner.

Kazm will look for the camera, mic, and speaker that are activated to run in your browser. You will need all three of these items to hold a face-to-face conversation on Kazm. (If you have no camera, you can still speak, but your partner won’t see you.)

Kazm includes a built-in conversation guide with intuitive instructions. Simply follow along with your partner and ask / answer the prompts included in each conversation round.

Having trouble? Refer to our troubleshooting tips or click “Need Help?” below the video window for ideas and support.

At the end of your conversation, you’ll be prompted to complete a very short feedback survey. Please help us learn from your experience!

Platform Requirements

America Talks uses the Kazm video conversation platform. Please review the platform requirements for Kazm in advance of America Talks, to ensure that your preferred device, browser, and location will support your face-to-face conversation.

  • PC desktop or laptop
  • Macbook Pro or Macbook Air
  • Chromebook (min 4G RAM)
  • iPad 5th gen or later (limited functionality)
  • iPhone 6S or later (limited functionality)
  • Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari (not recommended on laptop or desktop)
    • Always use Safari with iPads or iPhones
    • Avoid using Safari on desktop or laptop computers – use another supported browser
  • Having trouble with a Microsoft browser? (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge) Try switching to Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Platform requires access to reliable, accessible WiFi, ethernet, or cellular data network; audio and video quality degrade in low-bandwidth environments.

  • First-time users must click to “Allow” the platform to access the device’s camera and microphone.
  • Device must have a camera.
  • Device must have a microphone and speaker.
  • The correct camera, microphone, and speaker must be selected; using extra peripherals may require manual selection
  • Other video platforms (Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, etc…) must be closed before connecting, to prevent device conflict.

Ensure device is plugged in or fully charged; video applications drain battery power quickly.

Platform operates entirely in the browser and does not require software to be downloaded to the user’s device.

  • Kazm asks users to authenticate via email or an active social media account. This information is only used to authenticate you as a user on the platform (i.e. not a troll), and is not shared with your conversation partner. 
  • Users are asked to share a simple identifier (e.g. first name) when logging into the platform; this identifier will display on screen to other participants.
  • Some networks (e.g. in school or work settings) have elaborate firewall configurations that may prohibit users from transmitting audio and video over the platform. Users should verify that transmitting audio and video is permitted from their location.

Ensuring Your Privacy and Safety

America Talks and our event partners take your privacy and safety very seriously. You can review our privacy policy here. While we cannot foresee every circumstance, we’ve built many safeguards into our event. See below for more details.

  • Only participants who have answered all matching questions and registered for a Kazm account will be able to attend an America Talks event.
  • During the registration phase, any participant found exhibiting targeted offensive or harmful action or communication will be flagged and removed from the registration and matching process.
  • During the event, a reporting mechanism will be provided in the recommended conversation platform that allows any participant to report their discussion partner(s) for unacceptable behavior. Reported participants may be excluded from further communication regarding the event.

Learn more about our conditions of participation.

  • Your conversation partner will only see the onscreen identifier you choose. We recommend entering your first name only, or first name and last initial, if you have privacy concerns.
  • Your conversation partner will know that you answered some survey questions differently.
  • If you and your conversation partner wish to share location details or exchange contact details with each other, you may do so at your own discretion. This is completely up to you.
  • By default, we do not record your conversation with your assigned partner(s). Neither audio, video, nor transcript data is collected without your explicit consent.
  • If you and your partner(s) specifically agree to be recorded, for example as part of a media profile piece, we will set your conversation to “record mode” and share the files only for the narrow purpose described. 
  • Note that we cannot prevent a conversation partner from using their device’s screen capture technology to collect audio, video, and or screenshots from the conversation without their partner(s) permission.  While we will actively discourage this behavior, we cannot absolutely prevent it.
  • The America Talks conversation guide is designed to maximize positive interactions between conversation participants.  Please follow all instructions, including the described “norms.”
  • Event organizers are not responsible for the content of participants’ conversations, but any participant can click the “Need Help” link to report their discussion partner for unacceptable behavior. Please follow the instructions for reporting unacceptable behavior. Include your contact information if you wish to report an issue to law enforcement.
  • Reported participants may be excluded from further communication regarding the event.
  • To exit a conversation that is not going well, you can simply close your browser tab at any time. This ends your conversation.
  • Only individuals who are 18 or older and currently residing in the United States are eligible to participate in America Talks.
  • If you’ve been paired with someone who appears to have bypassed our age (18+) or location (United States) filters, we apologize and recommend that you notify us through the “Need Help” button, then exit your conversation by closing the browser tab.
  • Event organizers will contact you with information related to the America Talks event you have registered for.  This may include media inquiries, which you can accept or decline at your discretion.
  • If you opted into additional updates — for example, during the registration process or at a previous event — you may receive occasional updates and offers from America Talks and its partners that do not relate to this specific event.

Learn more about how we may use your information.