For social media lovers
Boredom got you creating more content? The proof is in the pudding – TikTok downloads have skyrocketed to 2 billion! The video-creation app allows you to make ‘micro content’ or videos of up to 15 seconds. You can communicate with one another over private text messaging to respond to these videos.
The same goes for Instagram. Users can send ‘quick replies’ with emojis in response to stories, or communicate over messenger with text and voice clips.
Facebook is a little more advanced. Individuals and groups can hold voice calls over Messenger, which has proven instrumental for remote workers.
Need a little more than just back and forth? Combine your video chats with games. Houseparty is popular for a reason – it allows up to eight people to enjoy video calls, as well as games like Pictionary.
If you’re a keen video gamer, try Discord. It works with headsets such as those you might find on a console, and allows communication over text, image, video and audio. You can chat as you play. A similar model is Netflix Party – it’s not strictly for gamers, but it allows users to stream content at the same time and chat over a message box positioned alongside.
For older tech users
One of the biggest concerns during this crisis is reaching out to older people. While the BBC reports that some elderly citizens prefer handheld devices, for example with Facetime, others suggest they prefer a mouse and a trackpad. This is great for cross-device apps like Facetime or Skype.
Alternatively, there is specially designed tech for older people. Amazon Echo allows voice calls, or ‘drop-ins’ where the call is initiated without another using having to answer. Oscar Senior is a favourite among caregivers and works with smart devices. It allows video calls and can also alert caregivers if there is an emergency.
For remote workers
Last but by no means least, many of us are now adapting to working from home. Zoom works as both a mobile app and desktop app, with up to 100 users at any one time! The limit for free calls is 40 minutes, but you can always re-join the call.
Skype is an old favourite, used for audio and video calls on desktop and mobile. It also has a text chat system to send messages, files and emojis. For Google users, Google Hangouts has a similar chat interface to Whatsapp, allowing text, images and audio files to be sent. You can also have free video calls with up to 150 people – but you’ll all need to have Google logins first.
Which app is right for me?
The common theme here is that you’ll need a reasonably up-to-date device and an internet connection. If you’re concerned about elderly relatives, contact a charity such as Age UK to discuss installation.
You’ll likely use many of these apps depending on the purpose – for example, leisure downtime or work calls. Mix them up and keep an eye on any limits like call times. You’ll soon find your best audience with each app!
Stay in touch
If you’re having trouble using any smart home technology, contact the SONA team today.