Since we are all socially distancing ourselves, let’s talk about chatting online.
Warning! I am no expert
on the subject. I’ve used a few apps to chat with friends and family. Oh, and
work, actual real work meetings too. But since I hate video chat and am happy
with Facebook Messenger, I haven’t explored these apps in depth. Instead, I’ll
list some programs here with comments on the ones I’ve actually used. Feel free
to add any info you have in the comments to help our fellow writers.
- Facebook Messenger—You must have an account with
Facebook and it’s
easier if you are friends with those you want to chat with. Setting up group
chats is easy. There is an option to call other users with Messenger (voice) or
do a video chat.
- Google Hangouts—still alive and kicking at this
point. Another easy messenger if you have a Gmail account to talk to others
with a Gmail account. This app offers chat, video chat, and voice chat.
- Discord—Signing up for this chat, voice, and
video service is easy and quick. Channels can be created by users about any
topic within your chat. This service is better for large groups. Many gamers
use the service to talk during gameplay.
- WhatsApp—Another text, voice, and video chat
platform for both Android and Mac.
- Instagram—This photo app has a small chat/messaging option. Users can send notes to anyone on Instagram. Be aware of predators on this app though.
- Twitter—This app also allows messaging back and forth but is not the main purpose of the program.
- Google Duo—This app is just video, no text. It’s like a Jetson video call,
using Google. Simple as answering a phone.
- FaceTime—This is an Io service only (Mac). If
you have an i-device you can facetime friends and family also on i-products.
- Skype—This app allows users to video chat
regardless of the platform. Set up is easy and quick.
- SnapChat—This app is more appropriate for Teens
and Tweens. Messaging is easy (and rampant) and the media is supposed to
disappear after it is watched/read. The video is only one way.
- MarcoPolo—Another video chat program similar to
SnapChat. I’m not
familiar with this one, but people seem to like it and think it’s safe.
- Zoom—Zoom is a service that offers large groups
room to meet and chat online. Video, voice, and chat are all options. Meetings
are scheduled through channels. Organizations can get an account and hold
scheduled meetings, invite guests, and get work done remotely. Many companies
are turning to Zoom for meetings. The app can be used on a variety of devices,
both Android and Mac. There is a phone app as well as web-access, and the app
will even download onto a PC.
- GoToMeeting—This app offers a wide variety of meetings and video conferencing. Great for distance learning, webinars, and
personal meetings. Video, text, and audio are all options. Check out the
pricing plans on this one.
- Webex—This service
offers video conferencing and meeting space. Similar to Zoom, large groups can
meet, chat, and solve the world’s
problems. Great for businesses to talk to employees remotely, and it also lets
companies talk with customers for support.