Even though we’re physically separated from each other right now due to social distancing efforts, that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected! In fact, our social support systems are actually crucial to our overall wellbeing, especially during trying times like these!
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing some ways we can all connect with our friends and family via virtual visits, rather than in-person ones. We’ll start by exploring 6 different options for virtual meetups and hangouts, then I have a few ideas to share that will make your virtual get-togethers even more fun!
(And don’t forget about the OGT Inner Circle, which is a great place to connect with fellow OGT readers! In case you missed it, you can learn more about joining us in the Inner Circle in my announcement about OGT Free!)
6 Ways To Stay In Touch With Loved Ones While Social Distancing
If you’re using an iPhone or iPad to FaceTime, you’ll probably want to prop it up against something so you don’t have to hold the device in front of you the whole time.
2. Google Duo
For Android users, the Google Duo app is essentially the Android equivalent of FaceTime. It’s free to download on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, so it’s a great option for video chatting with a mixed group of iPhone and Android users.
3. Google Hangouts
If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to messaging, phone calls, and video calls through Google Hangouts! Just click “Start a new hangout” to start a chat, then invite others by entering their Gmail addresses or sending them a link.
Using Google Hangouts, you can video chat with up to 25 people, while voice-only chats can accommodate up to 150 people!
Zoom has become the video call platform of choice for many during the COVID-19 outbreak. By signing up for Zoom’s Free plan, you can host unlimited video chats with up to 100 participants each, but each meeting will have a 40-minute limit.
If the host has a Zoom Pro plan ($14.99/month), the time limit is extended to 24 hours, so you don’t have to worry about cutting things short!
5. Marco Polo
For a slightly less traditional form of video chatting, check out the Marco Polo app! With this platform, you send short video messages to one or more people instead of meeting at the same time. It’s a fun and easy way to check in throughout the day without the pressure and scheduling issues of a live video chat.
Our family uses Marco Polo and we love it! We have a group set up with me, Dave, and all the kids, and it makes it so easy to send little video updates to each other throughout the day.
6. Phone Calls
And finally, especially if technology isn’t your strongest suit, there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned phone call! It’s a safe and reliable option for catching up with Grandma, and hearing someone’s voice is better than nothing!
Spice Up Your Virtual Visits!
- People all over the world are finding fun and creative ways to turn their virtual visits into a memory-making occasion! Here a few ideas I’ve come across that you can use to take your virtual visits to the next level:
- Have Dinner Together. If you’re missing being able to have dinner together as a family, host a virtual dinner party! Set up a video chat during dinner time, and don’t forget to share a toast!
- Watch Netflix Together. Host a watch party of your favorite show or movie on Netflix with the Netflix Party extension on Google Chrome! The OGT Team recently used this extension to watch The Office together, and we had a blast using the chat feature to talk about the episode.
- Host A Game Night. If you’re willing to get a little creative, you can even play a game with your loved ones over video chat! Simple games like Bingo, Scattergories, etc. will work best, but you could even play something like Monopoly if everyone has a copy at home.
- Virtual Book Club. If you have some bookworms in your social circle, set up a virtual book club! It can be as easy as picking a book and agreeing on a time and date for your virtual book club meeting.
- Visit A Museum. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can stay at home and visit a world-class museum at the same time! Set up a video chat with friends or family, then pick a museum to explore virtually together!
How are you staying in touch with family and friends?