If you’ve googled how to stay in touch with people while in coronavirus quarantine, then you know the top answer is social media apps. This is especially true if you are a student, children’s, or college leader. There are several resources already about how to connect with small groups online. The purpose of this post is to list a few other simple (FREE!) social networking apps that you can use to get in touch with and stay connected to your groups, whether you are practicing social distancing or not. All of these can be done from your phone!
Something I’ve learned from working remotely is that sometimes it helps to see people’s faces as you speak with them. There are a ton of apps that let you connect through video, but here are the top ones that I recommend.
You can use Facebook for practically anything. Most of the posts you’ll find these days are related to going live on Facebook. That’s not a bad idea, and I encourage it. However, if you’ve got a small group, that’s not the best way to chat. Try Facebook Messenger. This is extremely simple, but your group members do need to have an account.
You can use this for one-on-one conversations or for small groups. If you’re looking for ways to connect with your whole church, try an actual Facebook Group. Create a messenger group, hit the video icon, and you’re in a group video chat!
My college and singles group at my church uses this to meet for Bible study. I wouldn’t recommend this for children unless you have parental supervision, because almost anyone can message anyone on Facebook. Most kids will not have a Facebook page anyway – the age limit is 13.
I’m fairly new the Marco Polo world, but I like the idea of it. It is exactly like texting but through video. You can send and receive videos on your own time. You can choose whether to watch live or not. This one is not a good option for hosting a small group, unless you are ok with having people watch later and not participate live. However, it does keep you in contact with your people!
Download the Marco Polo app, click “Contacts,” then create group. Your group members would need to download the app, but it’s free! A great bonus is that, like Snapchat, you can add doodles, filters, text, etc. with your videos, so it’s a fun experience all around for all ages.
Parents: This is also a great, secure resource for children, because they can only communicate with people you have saved in your phone, iPad, or tablet.
Texting & Images
This one is easy peasy. Almost everyone has a phone. Create a group message through text by adding contacts and phone numbers. The challenge here will be the differences in Android and iPhone. So I recommend …
Encourage your group to download the GroupMe app. They can create a profile. Once you have their phone numbers, you can create a new group, add all the phone numbers, and then your chat is started! I’ve used this for groups ranging from three people to over thirty.
GroupMe also offers the fun side of messaging, it bridges the gap between types of smartphones. You can send memes, gifs, emojis, etc., through the chat. If you ever need to message anyone privately, you can do that as well.
If you get a group that’s really chatty, you can also mute the chat – just don’t forget to unmute it!
Those are our top picks for staying in touch despite social distancing! What apps do you use to connect with your people?
Published March 19, 2020