How to Stay Connected While Social Distancing


Social distancing can be a difficult time for those who want to stay connected with friends and family. Luckily, in the age of technology, it is easy to keep in touch and be social while staying at home.

For those who are still in school and have moved to online classes, or those working from home who have participated in video conferences, have probably heard of the app Zoom. According to the official Zoom website, "an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems." Basically, Zoom is a desktop and mobile app that allows multiple people to video chat with one another.

Zoom is a great platform for educational and professional purposes, but is also a great way to host get-togethers with friends and family, without breaking social distancing.

A great example of this could be hosting a birthday party for loved ones. Having the whole family or friend group call into the platform to celebrate with Zoom is an alternative to something like FaceTime on iOS devices that allows a large group of people to connect versus a one-on-one conversation, or something that is exclusive to just one kind of operating system.

If Zoom is something that doesn't appeal to you, there are other alternatives you can use to stay in touch.

CNet.com offers 10 free alternatives to the video conference app that can still be used to connect with friends and family. One of the ones on the list is a classic if you are a Windows user: Skype. If you are communicating one-on-one or one device to one device, and have an Apple device, FaceTime is an easy alternative. FaceTime comes with the phone, so you don't have to worry about downloading it. Chatting apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are also alternatives that offer video chat and audio call features. 

Fun things you can do while connecting with friends and family digitally:

There is a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party that allows groups of people to watch the same program on Netflix simultaneously. According to NetflixParty.com, this extension also offers a chat feature so you can type messages with your party to communicate in real time while watching the program. This is a great alternative to movie nights with friends.

On iPhones and a mobile app called Snapchat, there are options to play games with friends. You play a turn, then invite a friend or friends to join in for their turn. There are many different options for different games, which can keep you and your friends entertained during this difficult time. Snapchat.com also describes a new gaming feature on the app that is similar to the previously mentioned options, but allows more than 2 people to play at a time. This new feature also allows things like "live audio chat," which introduces a way to be even more interactive.

If all else fails, communicating through social media or simply texting and calling friends and family can help you stay connected.

*Please keep in mind that Hannah is not an expert. These are tips that are based on opinion and outside research. Please take Hannah's suggestions with a grain of salt. Most importantly, STAY AT HOME if you can, and stay safe everyone!*

- By Hannah Fitzgerald, Dreissig Apparel Inc.

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