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Most of us are practicing social distancing, or may be self-quarantining or isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is changing how we interact with others, and has transformed the importance of online tools to help us keep connected with our family and friends while we stay at home. Here are some apps, plug-ins, and web platforms that have become quite popular that you might want to download (if you haven’t already!) to keep socialising during the pandemic. And no, we’re not talking about WhatsApp or Facetime!
Originally a video conferencing platform for professional purposes, Zoom is now becoming the go-to for university lectures, school classrooms, family chats, and more. Just last week, Zoom was downloaded over 600,000 times in a single day. Even children in kindergarten are attending Zoom conferences to go about their daily online learning. “Zooming” is now a common verb in regular parlance, thanks to everyone and their mother zooming these days.
Fun fact: Kids are now making informational power-point slides and presenting them to each other using Zoom.
Discord is a popular chat platform that lets users create semi-private and invite-only servers. While it used to be a niche app designed for video-gamers, it is now being used by everyone from co-workers to friends to talk to each other in real time while they multitask, and even comes with screen-sharing so you can watch a movie at the same time.
Speaking of movies, Netflix Party is a Google Chrome browser plug-in. It was built in 2015 as an extension to let users sync and watch movies at the same time, and thousands of people have been downloading it in the last few weeks as a way to hang out with their friends and binge on their favourite shows together.
Fun fact: the correct term for watching a movie with others is ‘Watch Party’
You’ve probably used Eventbrite before to sign up for an offline, in-person event. But now that loads of organisers are switching to livestreaming and webinars, the website has created a new page for all the upcoming events that are taking place virtually. From ballet to cooking classes and community building workshops, you’ll find a whole line-up of your usual offline activities being hosted online here.
Houseparty has become almost an overnight sensation thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Catering primarily to Gen Zs and millennials, the socialising app is considered more casual and cool than the other video conferencing tools out there like Zoom, and many under lockdown have been enjoying virtual dinner and “happy hours” together over the app.
Fun fact: last week alone, the app was downloaded more than 2 million times – compared to just 130,000 weekly downloads last month.
Read our previous Covid-19 coverage and other tips during the pandemic here.
Lead image courtesy of iStock.