I just got off a two-hour video conference “party” with 11 people and a dog named Cooper.
The party was in honor of a friend’s birthday, which fell — quite inconveniently — during a time of necessary social distancing.
Two weeks ago, most of us had no idea what “social distancing” meant. Yet today, we are living in communities defined by it. Staying a minimum of six feet away from those outside our immediate households and avoiding all gatherings may be the way to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic, but it is tough medicine to swallow for many who relish their social relationships and interactions with others.
So how do you keep loved ones close and stay connected to friends in this new isolated world we’re living in?
We tackled this question just days after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak mandated the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state for 30 days, including restaurants, bars, retail stores and yes, even our 24-hour casinos. Coincidentally, these are many of the ways people have routinely enjoyed getting together.
So now more than ever, we needed to figure out how to stay in touch with those we love and those we enjoy spending time with. We asked our Facebook community to share their ideas. Not surprisingly, technology often has a starring role in people’s social connection strategies, like video phone calls and conference call apps. But some more traditional communication forms are also making a comeback.
Making the Tech Connect
[My daughter’s] school is having a glow stick disco party tomorrow live on Facebook. They put glow sticks in all of the kids’ learning packets that came home. We'll be joining in.
We’ve termed it “physical distancing” vs. “social distancing” at work. We’re a fully remote company anyway, but we’re doing virtual yoga via Zoom tomorrow to increase our virtual social touch points beyond regular meetings.
FaceTime dinner parties.
My daughter and her friends are doing a Zoom trivia night.
FaceTime cocktails with the girlfriends.
We're having Book Club on Ring Central tonight.
We are planning a Google get-together to play games with family in New York, California, Texas, Nevada and Georgia tonight. We have never done a virtual gathering before. Thanks, coronavirus, for bringing us closer together through distancing.
We've been coping by using an app called House Party. It's a big FaceTime video group chat with games like trivia and stuff. :) Helps a lot with boredom and missing friends.
My musician hubs is hosting Facebook live shows instead of his weekly regular gig. 🎶❤️
Coordinate home workouts with the same video link.
I play board games long distance. They have the board and such, we video chat on laptops so I can see the action, and I use an online site to randomly roll the dice (or color or whatever).
I asked for seven friends to commit to letting me video chat with them once a week. 90 seconds them, 90 seconds me.
I am providing yoga and Pilates and workouts daily on Facebook – no charge.
Potlucks with family via live stream...porch drops of dishes for all to share, then live streaming via technology, so we can all share in the meal.
Netflix Party: friends can watch a movie together and chat live.
Just the Positive Tip: If you want to explore video conferencing, check out this list of the best free video conferencing apps compiled by howtogeek.com:
- : Supports up to five video participants and 1,000 audio participants for an unlimited duration.
- : Video with up to 50 people. Users must download app.
- : Users with a free account can host video conferences for up to 100 participants, but conferences of three members or more are limited to 40 minutes.
- Google Hangouts: If you have a Google account, you have access to Google Hangouts. For free Gmail and G Suite Basic customers, Google Hangouts allows for up to 10 people to chat in a video call.
Connecting the Old-Fashioned Way
[My husband] and I have been going on early evening walks with our cocktails and waving at our neighbors through their windows.
I'm going to be sitting in my front yard this evening waving to people as they drive by.
Instead of hugs with people with whom you are close, just stopping about six feet apart and doing 20-30 seconds minimum of silent eye gazing. (Not a staring contest.) The benefit: serotonin, vulnerability, connection, etc.
We're rediscovering the joy of handwritten letters! We’re using old boxes of unused stationery, and my daughter is writing to all her grandparents and cousins and friends. Her school principal gave out her home address and is asking kids to write letters and tell her what books they're reading or what toys they're playing with lately, and she's promised to write back. It was a touching gesture that we really appreciated and are embracing with gusto!
A group of women in Verdi are planning weekly, maybe more often, local hikes. They’ve met for coffee semi-regularly since our kids were small, and the kids are 30-something now.
Talking to neighbors awkwardly from sidewalks on opposite sides of the street LOL.
Using the phone and talking to people I love and care about. You know, like we used to do.
We appreciate our community’s creativity and willingness to share their tips, as we can all use some extra inspiration these days. In addition to the virtual birthday party I attended, I also spent time this past weekend snowshoeing at Galena Park with two friends. With six feet between us and the squeak of snow beneath us, it was difficult to hear each other speak, so we soon abandoned trying to carry on a three-way conversation. But being close and doing something we enjoyed together ended up being enough.
Let’s keep the ideas flowing: If you’ve figured out other novel ways to keep your loved ones close with forced quarantines and social distancing, please share them with the JTP community on our Facebook page.