Social distancing has become the norm given the coronavirus pandemic. People are choosing to stay at home in an attempt to break the chain and flatten the curve. But that also means not being able to visit family or see one’s co-workers daily. It may be a while before things get back to normal. However, thanks to technology and social media, socialization has become possible in this age of social distancing. So how to keep your chin up while holding your horses in these unusual times when your day is boring like a loose cannon and, online chatting with people close, but no cigar?
Communities across the world have come up with innovative ways to stay connected. Who would have thought that one could catch up with friends for coffee or workout together online? People are trying to make the best of a not-so-great time. And, here’s how they are doing it.
Video Conferencing Apps
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, video conferencing apps have been playing a crucial role in returning a sense of normalcy. Though not comparable to a real-life meetup, they have helped people check in on loved ones and friends. Being able to see and hear the person on the other end gives a comforting touch as well.
Video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, IMO, FaceTime, Skype, and Cisco Webex all reported an increase in their userbase following the outbreak. Meet.google.com the premium video meetings becomes now free for everyone.
The reasons being their ease of use and the bevy of video chatting-features they offer. Functions such as audio and video calling, video recording, screen share, and chat rooms enable digital socialization, remotely. Thus, they have been able to achieve what in ordinary times would have been regarded improbable. But with the surge in the video conferences still, even when you remotely work from home, keeping your work environment both password-safe and VPN-secure is a must, the intruders are already targeting the virtual meeting on the video conference platform Zoom.
Unable to gather in groups, people across the world are using video conferencing apps as a digital meetup space to host house parties, play games, hang out with friends, and organize digital book clubs. Business houses are collaborating with employees via meetings, conferences, and webinars hosted on these apps. Religious groups are not far behind. They are utilizing business conferencing apps to gather people for community prayer and worship. Schools, colleges, and universities are also using these applications to deliver classes and lectures. Yoga instructors have been taking classes online using Zoom and Skype too.
Do you miss movie night with friends? Netflix allows you to watch films with friends and family using their latest feature “Netflix Party”. This is a free Google Chrome extension that enables viewers to sync video playback. So, irrespective of physical location, you can all watch the same movie at the same time. They’ve added a chat function too. That means you can keep talking about how dreamy the actor is or could even predict the next plot twist. What you are missing is just some popcorn!
Live Streaming Platforms
Live-streaming is the next most popular trend in 2020. It has taken digital socialization beyond texts, voice calls, and video chatting. YouTube.com, Facebook.com Live, Instagram.com Live, and YouKnow.com are just a few of the live stream solutions that are being used to engage millions of internet users in real-time. And, it is not restricted to a particular geographical location.
Clubs and DJs are taking their events online broadcasting straight from their homes. Artists continue to keep us entertained by filling in the void created by closed theatres, concert halls, and nightclubs. Along the same lines, fitness clubs and gyms are conducting their business through live streams and online videos. They help clients work out in the comfort of their homes by directing and overseeing workout sessions remotely. From religious services to press conferences, a wide variety of events are now being broadcast over the internet, live.
Online gaming platforms like the one on Facebook, Discord, Twitch, and others have also helped create a sense of community in these times of social isolation. Games in the multi-player format allow one to bond with other players. While massively multiplayer online games can be reserved for friends, there are a great number of interesting virtual board and card games that can be played with family and senior relatives. The online gaming community also has some exclusive text and voice apps that facilitate in-game socialization. Online games are a great way to pass time and have some fun when self-isolating.
Private WhatsApp groups built around common interests are also becoming more attractive as a possible platform for socialization from home.
To conclude, socialization has become more important than ever given the uncertainties of the present times. Keeping in touch helps get over feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and neglect. We have given you several ways to connect safely now during the pandemic and even after that when the situation settles. It may take us some time to adjust to the new normal. But what counts are the meaningful relationships we build along the way.