With so much negative news at the moment, the positive is that we live in a very connected world. Here’s the tech that can replace meeting up, for now…
Alexa Drop In
Similar to a phone call but hands-free. It allows you to check in whenever you want to say hi and/or showcases your toddler’s new habit of being naked all the time to your mum’s friends.
When you receive a drop-in, the light indicator will flash and connect you automatically, as long as you’ve allowed ‘drop-in’ permissions beforehand.
Amazon Echo Show
This is Amazon’s version of the Facebook Portal in a nutshell. It can also link to your friends via video call and be controlled with voice commands via Alexa.
A tablet that can sit in any room and be called via Alexa without the need to fiddle with the tablet itself. Helpful for less tech-inclined older people too, so consider it if you have parents who are self-isolating.
The portal can also follow you around the room so you and your friends can feel like you’re just hanging out. Oddly comforting. And handy when you're stuck indoors self-isolating.
Google’s own version of Facetime, so it’s the one you want if you have an Android phone. The best thing? Its ‘knock knock’ feature, which gives you a preview of who’s calling before you answer.
Houseparty is a relatively new kid to the block. It's essentially a social networking app that allows up to eight people to video chat at once in a 'room'. Users can have different rooms and move between them like they're at a house party.
Before COVID-19 hit, we used Instagram to gawp at heavily filtered mum blogs, see if that Made In Chelsea couple were really still together and plan our outfits.
Now it’s become a way to stay connected to friends via video calls or messages. It also helps you to see the good that’s happening in these unprecedented times. You can watch live videos from classes and events that we used to attend in real life from our respective sofas ‘with’ our friends. Priceless.
Next Door App
A social networking app for neighbours to connect you to people in your local area, which seems pertinent at the moment. Use it to check in with anyone that needs help or shopping dropped off during the coronavirus outbreak and to keep in contact with elderly neighbours.
An app that has a USP of never collecting and distributing data from you whether you use their video, voice messages or texts. A good option if you’re suspicious of Facebook and co but still want to stay in touch with friends.
WhatsApp, Skype and Facetime
These three are the familiar stalwarts of the tech communication world. They will probably form the basis of our friendships and virtual celebrations until we can sit together on sofas again with a cup of tea, cake and exhale. Also very useful when calling abroad.
More than likely you’ve done a lot of Zooming lately. As people work from home, it’s become the main way that teams get together to video chat. But it can also be useful for big groups of friends too, and a good way to keep a book group/regular mum friend meet-up going.
We'll meet again...
And just remember, one day this will all be over and we'll all breathe a giant collective sigh of relief. Here are 10 of the things we'll appreciate when it's over.
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