It’s an important time to stay connected. Across the country, we’re being asked to practise strict (and necessary) social distancing and to stay at home unless we have to go outside for something absolutely essential.
In order for us to ‘flatten the curve’ we have to stay away from the ones we love outside of our immediate households: family, friends, co-workers and neighbours are off the list, and with it, coffee dates, dinners out, celebrations and holidays. Trying to maintain our social networks and sense of community is difficult in these times, but thankfully new technology is paving the way for us to stay connected to the people we care about in our new reality.
Here are some platforms and apps that can help you spend some much-needed quality time with your group while staying safe at home.
A new way to watch Netflix with your friends, Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favourite Netflix shows. Install this free Chrome-browser extension on your laptop or desktop and a chatroom “sidebar” allows everyone to share commentary (or episode theories) on some of the most-popular shows on the network while playing in real time.
Stay Connected with Zoom
Once relegated to video-conferencing calls for virtual office meetings, Zoom has taken off in popularity as the tool to host #stayhome happy hours, book clubs, dinner parties and birthday celebrations. The basic account offers free, 40-minute conference calls with up to 100 attendees (the monthly membership fee allows for longer time spent). Plus, people don’t need a login to access a meeting.
When trying to stay connected with your crew, Zoom makes it very easy to navigate. Offering more features than FaceTime and Google Hangouts, a fun little perk is in switching out your backgrounds, depending on your mood. The platform offers backdrops ranging from pop culture homes like Seinfeld’s living room or Carrie Bradshaw’s
Play the classic Scrabble game with an official board, tiles and Scrabble word dictionaries in this new app launched earlier this year. Offering a friendly game of scrabble that doesn’t require everyone to be online at the same time, it offers multiple ways to play each game and you’re always able to find someone new to have some friendly competition with. This is a particularly fun way to stay connected at your own pace.
This app works when you have a moment to talk with spontaneous virtual face-to-face conversations through video chat, but it’s not live. Their “push-to-talk” feature allows you to leave someone a video that they can watch whenever they have a chance. It’s ideal for people who want to stay connected with their loved ones but might not necessarily have the time to sit there and have a video chat.
Bunch allows users to invite their friends to a video chat party, pick their favourite game, and launch into a gaming session with the easy tap of a button. From trivia, drawing to charades, the casual user experience allows for fun game nights, plus for even more serious gamers the app also offers Fortnite and Minecraft too.