Updated: Aug 11, 2020
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED AT NO COST!
Staying connected to the people who mean the most in your life can be a challenge these days with the shutdowns that dominate the news and our lives. Even though you may not travel to see and hug family and friends, we have video-based technology that allows us to lay eyes on them.
Self-Isolation mandated during the current crisis and the “Social Isolation” associated with the “Loneliness Epidemic” do not go well together. It is crucial to stay in touch with people and to extend your personal reach to others who you haven’t spoken to some time. The Church has an opportunity to shine as Lights in a world darkened by Loneliness.
See “The Loneliness Epidemic”
Today with the widespread use of WIFI in our homes and SmartPhone technology supported by high-speed 4G & 5G data networks, we can use mobile, laptops, and desktop devices to stay in touch.
Several free and paid options are available by merely downloading the app to your device or accessing it on your computer. You have virtually no reason to miss out if you have one of the devices mentioned above, along with a WIFI or a Mobile Network connection.
Here are some options:
Google Duo is a video and audio calling app made by Google, similar to Apple’s FaceTime, Facebook’s WhatsApp or Messenger, and Microsoft’s Skype. Google Duo is free to use and works across both Apple Devices and Android devices - unlike Apple’s FaceTime, which can only be used by iPhone or Ipad device owners.
The app allows group calling and recently expanded its group calling limit to 12, so you can chat with all your family and friends.
Duo relies on your phone number, enables you to reach people in your phone’s contacts list, offers end-to-end encryption, and has nifty features like Knock Knock, which allows you to see live video of your caller before you answer.
The Marco Polo app is a popular video messaging app. It works on your mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. It is a video walkie talkie. You select the person you want to “Marco Polo” from your contacts and tap the button on the screen and leave a message.
The app allows you to invite people to join you on Marco Polo as well, so you can build your own community of “Marco Poloers.”
Skype, another free service, has been around for a very long time as internet years go. It allows you to host video chats with and individual or multiple people and operates on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop equipped with a webcam and speakers or headphones. Skype offers paid options.
Business and Large Group Video Conference Options
Zoom, Go To Meeting, and other video conferencing solutions are more focused on business interactions. They work better as solutions for hosting remote or virtual Bible Studies or Worship Services rather than personal video calls. They can be used for 1-1 meetings.
While the others mentioned above are downloadable apps, Zoom, and GoToMeeting are session dependent. Meaning they only require that you have an access code and the meeting ID to access the meeting and can be used by participants who don’t have access to video at the time of the meeting.
Participants can join a meeting by landline phone, mobile phone as voice-only or by video on Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops if equipped with a webcam and speakers.
There are many ways today to stay in touch and to break the cycle of social isolation. We can turn the tide of loneliness that has become a reliable indicator of shortened lifespan and decreased health. The tools are at our fingertips.