People all across the world are practicing social distancing for the safety of themselves and others. As we physically spend less time together, it’s become more important than ever to use technology to stay connected. Thankfully, there are multiple platforms available that can help us stay in touch. The following are five apps that you can use to stay connected from the comfort of your own home. Try some out and see which ones work for you!
Skype has been around for a long time, and you have probably already used it at one time or another, whether that be for work or personal use. It allows you to talk to others either one-on-one or in a group, from your phone or your computer. You can instant message or use voice or video calling, with groups of up to 50 people. Using Skype is free, but there are paid options if you require additional features.
Also well-known, WhatsApp is free to download and can be used by anyone with a smartphone, as well as online. This app is similar to text messaging, but uses the internet to send messages, which makes it easy to create chats and group chats between people regardless of if they have an iPhone or Android. You can also use WhatsApp to send audio, video and pictures.
Since social distancing has become the new normal, everyone has been using Zoom. Although it was founded in 2011, Zoom has recently found a new surge of popularity as people look for the best ways to connect online. Zoom is a great tool for business, making conference calls a breeze with it’s user-friendly platform that gives participants the opportunity to both see and speak with one another in large groups. When joining or creating a meeting, you have the choice of whether to share your video or not, and the option to mute yourself or the participants of your meeting. You also have the ability to share your screen with others in your meeting, making it a great tool for working from home while staying connected to your co-workers.
Houseparty is an increasingly popular app that allows you to connect with your friends through video and audio. You can go on Houseparty to chat with friends, or use the games feature and try out something fun. Plan a time to meet up with friends and login at the same time, or simply login whenever you’re feeling bored and ready for a game, and your friends will receive a notification that you’re “in the house”. They can then choose to join you if they’re feeling up to it. So when you get a notification that your friend is “in the house”, you can join in anytime! Play games like heads-up, trivia, and fill-in-the-blank.
If we had to draw a similarity between this app and another one, it would be Snapchat. With Marco Polo, users create videos for each other to send in a chat. Unlike Snapchat, the videos do not automatically disappear but stay saved, and there is no time limit on them. If you don’t want the commitment of sitting down for a lengthy conversation in a video chat through Skype or Zoom, this is a great tool to use, much like sending each other notes.