People are staying at home these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re keeping to themselves. With Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and a number of other programs and apps, people are finding creative ways to work, share their talents, and stay connected with family and friends.
For many of us, the learning curve that has accompanied this sudden transition to digital socializing can feel somewhat overwhelming. But with a little information and preparation, you’ll be hanging out onscreen in no time!
Video Call Etiquette
No matter what program or device you use, the following guidelines apply to all platforms.
- If you’re expected for a scheduled call, arrive on time or a few minutes early, just like you would for an in-person gathering.
- Choose a spot in your home with an attractive, or at least neutral, background. A cluttered space may be distracting to the people on your call.
- Lighting is important! If you have moveable lamps, consider moving one closer to you or sitting by a window so your conversation partner(s) can see you.
- Choose a stable place to set your device, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or laptop. Keep it steady by placing it on a table or desk rather than holding it in your hands during the call. You don’t want to make the party on the other side of the video dizzy!
- If you have background noise, consider putting headphones in to keep others from hearing what’s going on around you.
- Start the call with a simple greeting and break the ice, engaging like you would during a “normal” get together.
- During the conversation, resist engaging in other activities, such as cleaning or folding laundry, just because you’re home. Focus on making eye contact with the person on the other end.
- Relax together with a cup of coffee or glass of wine to help make the conversation special, as if you were out at a restaurant.
- Remember to say goodbye before signing off.
Beyond Video Calls
Just like in everyday life, sometimes the best way to connect is over a shared activity. With today’s technology, it’s possible to have fun together even if you’re separated by thousands of miles! Try some of the following activities:
- Multiplayer games: Play word games, chess, or cards with friends! No matter what platform you use (Android, iPhone, IPad, Chromebook or laptop), you can find an endless supply of free game apps that allow for collaboration.
- Entertainment: Try Netflix Watch Party or YouTube ShareTube as a way to watch and chat about your favorite movies and shows in sync.
- Books: Not only can you download digital books from your library for free using apps like Hoopla or Libby (check your local library’s website for details), but you can share your reading experiences with others by joining a number of virtual book clubs and discussion apps, such as Bookship. Invite your friends and make new ones as you share your reading experiences together.
Need more specific technical help? These resources will help you have a smooth experience with some of the more popular video tools.
FaceTime Call Zoom Calls Facebook Live