How The World Is Making The Most Of Virtual Mediums To Stay Connected In The Time Of Coronavirus

It has been over a month since the entire world went into a lockdown situation faced with an unseen enemy. Life without travel, office work, going out for movies, dining at a restaurant, going to school, or stepping out for walks is what the present-day situation offers all over the world since Covid-19 struck. As a result, many of you have been spiraling into emotional distress, depression and frustration. Day-to-day functioning itself is no less than a challenge. However, thanks to technology and the virtual mediums available to you, it is easier to stay connected and be productive within the confines of your home. Here is how you can leverage the myriad virtual platforms available in constructive ways.

  1. Video chat platforms

One of the most important things that you must be missing in today’s time of self-quarantine and social distancing is meeting their family and friends. Never had anybody imagined a day where you would be confined to their homes on account of a viral infection affecting not just a neighborhood but the entire world! In fact today, many of you are stuck in far-flung places away from your loved ones, unable to get back to your homes due to the lockdown, leaving you and your family and friends worried. However, you can easily leverage popular video chat platforms like

Video chatting is a new way to link up with people. All you need is a smart device like a laptop, smartphone, or tablet; a good internet connection; and a microphone and speakers. With this equipment in place, you simply need to download the app of your choice, create an account, and start video chatting with whomever you want. This unique experience of video chatting is not just restricted to known people. You can use it to connect with other like-minded individuals as well, who might be unfamiliar with you. Since many of you might be getting bored staying home, why not use video chat platforms to forge new bonds, create new associations, and indulge in interesting conversations. Some video chat platforms like Camfrog also have public chat rooms options wherein you can connect with multiple people simultaneously. These chat rooms are a great medium to have interesting discussions with a large group of friends or family members, or to meet new people. You can also share exciting videos, audio messages, and snippets of documents.

  1. Gaming apps

The spread of the life-threatening COVID-19 has shifted lives online for millions who are finding solace in virtual entertainment and communication. As a result, apps and services like Roblox, where users can build and play games, or Microsoft-owned game platform Mixer and chat app Discord, are finding a surge in user numbers. On these platforms, people can interact and chat while playing games together or working out a crossword puzzle. In fact, it is estimated that the online gaming market will touch $1.1billion by 2021, according to Google-KPMG.

These gaming apps are not only a way to pass the time but also a way to connect with people, as they host many users from different parts of the world coming together to play. With social distancing becoming the new normal, these gaming-related services are a place for community life. Browse the plethora of gaming apps available online, read their reviews, and download them for some fun activity with your friends and family.

  1. Travel through the virtual world

Travel enthusiasts are some of the worst affected by the lockdown and a complete ban on travel. But fret not, the virtual world has something quite life-like in store for you through the online virtual world Second Life. Download the app and become a resident of the Second Life, where you create virtual representations of yourself, called avatars, and then interact with places, objects, and other avatars. You can explore the entire world known as the Grid, meet the residents from other places, socialize, and participate in different activities.

This virtual world is an excellent way to explore the world in today’s time of quarantine as you are not bound by any restrictions of time, place, or money. You can at least attain visual happiness through a virtual medium and make good use of your time at home.

  1. Online educational platforms

Online educational programs have been gaining traction in the last few years, but now with COVID-19 banging on everyone’s door, virtual education has become compulsory for many. With schools shut, there are more than 1.5 billion children at home with only online courses or educational platforms to help them with their studies. In fact, many educational institutions have started online courses, while some educational technology firms are giving out free classes to help counteract the sudden closure of schools. A lot of platforms like Coursera and Udemy are offering courses for free or at discounted prices in order to get more people to join.

These platforms not only offer core subject material but also have hobby/interest courses like photography, music, videography, dance, and more. You can enroll your children and join in them yourself. If you have time, consider making hobby lessons a family activity you do together. It will be a great learning experience and at the same time an excellent way to bond as a family.

  1. Online dating apps

With no real life dating possible right now, the online dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, Grindr, are getting more users. They are great visual means of finding people and striking up a conversation with them. So, if you are alone and in search of a partner or want to indulge in casual dating, get on one of these dating sites. You can message, video chat, and even do voice calls. Ensure that the sites that you enroll in are secure and trustworthy— you don’t want your information stolen. Do a thorough search and seek reviews before enrolling in any of them. It is time to start your romance in pixels. Get on any of the popular dating apps and you never know who you might find.

  1. Attending events virtually

You might have never had the time to attend an event or workshop due to your busy work schedule, but now that there are no flights to catch for an out of town meeting or office deadlines to meet, give it a try! With fewer social family commitments to fulfill, take time out from the chaos of the world and do the things that you have wished for a long time. There is a lot of activity going on online. Companies are holding webinars, workshops and talks for people. From talks on coronavirus to hair-cutting lessons, painting workshops, and discussions on how to keep physically fit and emotionally strong in these times, a lot is happening. All you need to do is put in your interest on the internet and be ready to absorb the information you will receive.

  1. Skill learning through e-tutorials

It’s time to learn something new during this pandemic, and thanks to technology there is no need to step out of your home to do that. With e-classes started by online educators, you can learn many different types of skills. From refurbishing old clothes into something fashionable to playing an instrument, taking on photography, or even learning a new language, you have it all! Some of these classes are free, while others are available at discounted prices. So just punch in your requirement, and you will get a list of skills that you can acquire in quarantine. However, do good research and read reviews before deciding on the course as many courses promise more than they deliver.

  1. Exercising with your e-guru

If you’re sick of sitting at home and putting on weight because your regular walk/run in the park or gym visit is not possible, why not join a workout regime online? There are numerous apps that you can download with different workout regimes. Some of them are free, while others have a nominal fee to support the platform and instructors.

Those of you who like to pump weights can check out some hardcore workouts with a virtual instructor to guide you through the sessions. Those who enjoy dance as part of their exercise regime can enroll in Zumba classes or even join a salsa community to practice footwork and technique. If you don’t want to download apps and pay up for them, there are simple workout plans available on YouTube, too. Just type in the form of exercise you would like, and you will be amazed at the choices that come up.

  1. Hone your culinary skills

Cooking is a great stress reliever for many people, and with a lot of time on your hands now that you are at home 24/7, why not try out some different cuisines? There are plenty of videos going around social media with people sharing what they have been cooking along with the recipes. You could check out those on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, among other platforms.

If you want to get into some serious cooking, there are many cooking platforms with chefs of high repute sharing their recipes. Plan out a dinner date for you and your partner this weekend, and cook some delectable cuisine with the help of recipes available online. You can even make it a Sunday family activity and involve your children, too. Once the cooking is done, plan a picnic in your backyard or living room with all the tasty food onboard and spend some quality time as a family.

  1. Movies and exciting series available online

Another great pastime is watching shows or movies with your family, an activity you may not have indulged in the past due to the chaotic lives and busy social commitments we typically have.

Take time out and use it to watch all those old flicks you could never complete or start a new series that is trending. Get reviews from friends and family on the best show of late, and binge some entertainment. With phenomenal internet speeds and excellent online content available, it should not be a problem to find a suitable film or show. Netflix, Hotstar, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO are some of the trending online entertainment platforms with movies and series of different genres. These are paid subscriptions but are well worth every penny. From sci-fiction to horror, murder mystery, comedy to drama – they have it all! If you’re not looking to subscribe, check out YouTube for some awesome free series. Plan a theatre night for you and your family with beverages, popcorn, and a great movie, and you will surely have a lot of fun.

Conclusion

In the times of coronavirus, with people forced into lockdown or quarantine, there’s an increased risk for mental health issues. This reinforces the need to stay connected to friends and family through virtual modes and find productive ways to stay engaged with different activities. These virtual mediums are a blessing as they serve to help people function as normally as they can. Not only do they help in keeping in touch with loved ones, but they also offer myriad forms of entertainment and education. It is important to leverage these platforms and gain productively in these times of self-quarantine and social distancing.

Video Chat App

Alternative Video Chat Options for Meeting Strangers

When was the last time you opened your heart to someone without having to think about how they would judge you? Perhaps it happens when talking to a friend who lets you be just you. But in the mad rush that has engulfed our lives in modern times, friends have also become busy with their own lives and are often unable to give much time to us. Physical meetings have become rare, but virtual interaction has increased to fill the gap.

Your devices now keep you connected to the world and your friends. Humans are instinctively social, which is why in the physical absence of friends, they reach out over the phone or social networks. Be it an old acquaintance or a new one, chatting with friends can help us unwind, but work schedules can keep us from socializing with friends. The human need to socialize doesn’t just disappear, though. In such cases, this need can open the door to a world where perfect strangers can listen to us, talk to us, and become friends—the world of social networking.

While regular or voice chats have their own appeal, what really interests people is video chats. Video chats have a certain element of surprise in them. Not only can you hear the person on the other side, but you can also see them and read their expressions. This makes the process of familiarization easier and more exciting. And if communication becomes exciting, it could be the beginning of a most exciting friendship!

Someone intending to commit a fraud is generally not too inclined to show his or her face and hence prefer more messaging or audio chats to video chats. Hence, video chats act as a great form of defense, preventing users from falling prey to cyber fraud. To have an uninterrupted conversation over video chat, you need to figure out the best possible video chat option from the long list of service providers that are now available in the market. Start by identifying the features that are necessary in any video chat option that you choose.

  • Check the security of the chat provider

Opt for popular and recommended platforms. Most video chat options have free and paid features, but it is always better to go for a paid service since it is generally more secure. Remember, recommended and popular options do not come free, but it ensures cybersecurity while offering great quality.

  • Emphasize audio or video quality

Security might come foremost, but the quality of the service should be the next most important factor in your search. Imagine your connection having time-lags or unclear visibility. Do you think it would be a great experience when you are trying to know somebody better? Go for the option that offers smooth, uninterrupted service.

  • Platforms supported

You might have an Android device today but can choose to buy an iOS or Windows device in the future. To ensure that you can continue to make new friends and talk your heart out, make sure the provider works across all platforms. You should not have to give up on a budding friendship just because you want to switch to a new platform. Most popular services run smoothly across all platforms. This gives you one more reason to choose a stable and popular option.

  • Sharing options

In the middle of a conversation, you might just want to share something important with your friend. It could be a photograph, an audio clip, a video, or a document. Your video chat provider should ideally be able to support file sharing. And the most popular services are equipped with this feature. So, before making a choice, check if this is available.

  • Group conferencing

Group conferences are also fun sometimes, particularly when a group of friends tries connecting with each other. While most video chat services offer group conferencing options, the number of connections might be restricted. Check out how many connections can be accommodated by your chat service at one time, to avoid missing the fun!

So, what are the most convenient and useful video chat options to meet new people and make new friends? Here are a few recommendations to compare.

  • Facebook Messenger

Facebook today is among the most popular social networking sites in the world. With over 2.4 million active users at any given point of time, Facebook is not just a fad— it is a multifunctional social network that can connect you to the world. In the world of smartphones, Facebook has become a habit. It is this popularity that attracts more people towards Facebook Messenger, a video chat option where you can log in without logging in to Facebook. Facebook Messenger is believed to have a user base of more than 4 billion users worldwide.

While it may lack some of the jazzy features provided by other chat apps, it is one secure, simple, and stable option appropriate for people across all age groups. The advantage of a Facebook Messenger is its interconnectivity to Facebook, which can validate profiles and give you that much-needed familiarity if a stranger approach you.

Facebook Messenger, like its parent app Facebook, is easily used over all devices, cutting across platforms. It hardly matters whether you use Android, iOS, or Windows. Although logging in can be done separately and separate apps can be installed, Facebook Messenger can also be used from the version embedded within the Facebook site.

Facebook Messenger allows you to set your status, sends auto-replies in case of absence, and ensures superior quality individual and group messaging as well as video calling facilities. Be it connecting with old friends or connecting with new ones, you can do it all on Facebook Messenger. Additionally, it also allows you to share files, videos, photos, audio recordings, as well as live and static locations, not to mention the whole range of emoticons, stickers, and gifs that enhance your experience.

With Facebook improving its features to accommodate business, it has introduced a new and most unique money transfer feature. And if you are still not convinced, the encryption that keeps the app secure from hackers and potential catfishers should be able to do the trick to win you over.

  • Camfrog

For almost 16 years, this PeerStream product has been a hit among millennials and older adults alike.

Camfrog is one of the most secure video chat options, supported by technology, encryption and security protocols similar to the ones that support Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and such popular chat providers. With the younger generation finding it easier to communicate with each other using emojis and stickers more than entire sentences, Camfrog is particularly popular among the millennials who love the unique and appropriate range of stickers and emoticons. Many are free and once you exhaust the free ones, you can also buy more with credits to suit your needs.

Camfrog also has the unique feature of supporting multilingual facilities that can break the barrier for non-English-speaking people, who can also conveniently use the app. A very special feature in the app is its accessibility feature and quality of video streaming that allows deaf people to use it for communication. This sensitivity makes Camfrog even more popular among the deaf community and social advocates and care-givers.

Known widely as an individual or group video chat service, Camfrog is accessible from all platforms and meets most of the criteria that you might be looking for in the best video chat option selected. Camfrog is also supported by an extensive cloud-based user directory which offers logged-in, paid users access thousands of profiles to choose from.

Camfrog also supports file transfer and has recently added a broadcasting option from which users can even earn money. With more and more people choosing Camfrog as an alternate video chat option, it is becoming one of the most sought-after providers.

  • Viber

Another popular alternate video chat options is Viber, a cross-platform application for instant messaging and voice and video calling. Owned and operated by Rakuten, a Japanese multinational company, Viber is available as a freeware for all platforms, be it Android, iOS, Windows, or Linux.

Another app that appeals to the younger generation, Viber has reportedly been downloaded more than 11 million times and has a user base of over 1 billion. It is used extensively across the world and comes only second in usage after WhatsApp and Messenger. What makes it a favorite among users is its encryption and secret chat features, making chats secure.

Signing in to Viber offers you an array of features including file, photo, video, audio and location transfer or sharing apart from the regular video and voice chat services. Viber allows you to make free audio and video calls without having to log in to the app, so that you can enjoy smooth and buffer-free calls with existing Viber users as well as unregistered users. You can create communities and use available stickers, emojis and gifs to make your conversations more interesting and playful.

What makes Viber different from other chat options is that it allows registered users to make calls to any other mobile, landline or non-Viber users as well. This compact app can easily be downloaded and occupies little of your device memory space.

  • WhatsApp

As per some research results acquired in 2019, WhatsApp has an active user base covering 1.5 billion people across more than 180 countries in the world. The convenience of use, quality of calls and video chats, file sharing and security together make it one of the most dependable alternate video chat options for the world, regardless of the age group of users.

WhatsApp is an easy-to-download and easy-to-use application that hardly takes much space as long as it is used to its maximum potential. The app can be installed and used across any device sitting on any platform, be it Android, iOS, Windows, or Blackberry. As long as you have 3G, 4G or a Wi-Fi network, your WhatsApp account is active even if your phone network does not work. You can make video or voice calls to any mobile number in the world.

Its acquisition by Facebook in 2014 has further enhanced the credibility as well as the reach of the app. In fact, most countries in the modern world as well as the developing world use WhatsApp as their official communication medium. This speaks volumes about the security provided by the app. Needless to say, it is one of the most popular services among people wanting to make new friends as well. Customized emojis, gifs, and the recent inclusion of stickers mean WhatsApp is fun and easy for new members.

WhatsApp settings can be customized to allow you to view and respond to messages through pop-ups while you are doing something else on your device. It also allows for push notifications and file transfer options. You can transfer whatever you like including documents, PDFs, audio files, videos, pictures or links to Facebook or Google apps. The location-sharing option of WhatsApp is a great additional feature.

These major players aside, there are also a number of other options that you can choose from depending on your location, budget, device and choice of services and features.

Also owned by Peerstream, Paltalk, is a fast-rising video chat service with enhanced security and privacy features. Started over 20 years ago, Paltalk has grown to embrace 200 million users, with a large percentage in the United States. With more than 5000 group chat rooms and one-on-one messaging services across myriad topics, Paltalk also supports multiple languages.

Then there is IMO, a more old-school yet trusted and dependable video and audio calling service. When Georges Harik created this app almost at the end of the last decade, it was a Google supported-app that connected Google to the world. Since Google occupied a large part of our lives around the end of the last decade with not much competition, IMO also got a ready user-base, happy to get an audio or video calling option that could make communication easier.

These are a list of alternative video chat options that are available in the market. Take your pick from among these to ensure you can meet more strangers and make new friends without having to worry about security or streaming issues. So, end your wait and pick the chat option of your choice to make new friends online.