If you’re reading this and a regular fan of Amintro, first of all thank you! Secondly, you might just be old enough to remember the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, first released in 1979. It was and remains a catchy tune and inspired our title today – a time much different from 1979 and a time that actually finds us quite thankful for video. Right now, we are in a world where many of us are currently in isolation and relying on video conferencing in one form or another to stay connected with family and friends. At Amintro, we are all about connections and so it seems like a good time to review just a few of the tools available for helping us stay in touch with loved ones and friends – perhaps even a friend you’ve made the Amintro way! 

Stay Connected

Maybe you already know of and are using Facetime with loved ones and friends during COVID-19. If so, you know that Apple’s video calling platform is your connection to the world outside your doorstep! But if you don’t have an Apple device, there are still a plethora of free video calling applications and websites you can use to keep in touch with friends when a regular phone call just won’t cut it. Below, we list some of the most popular platforms and suggest how to get started on them. All of these video call services can be used on your phone, tablet, or computer. The nice thing about many of these services is that you have the option of whether to download the applications or not. In other words, you don’t even have to add them to your device to use them, either way you are still able to reach your friends and family. However, if you do think that you will be video calling often, downloading one of these apps and creating an account will save you some time. In these occasionally long days of isolation, meaning for some of us we have nothing but time, downloading a video conferencing tool is the perfect way to still “see” friends and loved ones. 

Available Platforms

I may not be the most “techy” person at the table so it’s important you know these are all programs that are pretty darn easy to use. So without any further ado, here are a few suggested platforms you can use:

  • Google Meet: If you already have a gmail account, this service is the one for you. Just type “Google Meet” into your internet search browser, click on the site, sign into your google account, then click the “join or start a meeting” button. Finally, copy the link from under where it says “meeting ready” and send it to anyone you would like to video call with!
  • Zoom: Zoom functions similarly to google meet. You will want to type “Zoom” into your internet search browser, then click on the site and create an account. You can sign in and create an account using any email provider. Then, in the top right corner, you will want to click on the “host meeting” button. Choose the option that shares your video. Once you are in the call, click on “manage participants” and from there, you will see a button on the bottom of your screen that says “invite.” Click that, and finally, copy the url or invitation and send it to whoever your heart desires and start video chatting! One thing to keep in mind is that Zoom has exploded in popularity since the onset of COVID-19 and you may have heard that it has become a prime target for internet trolls and hackers. It’s been a few weeks since the rise in Zoom use and the company has taken proactive measures to eliminate as much of the risk as possible. Just make sure you don’t share your Zoom link in a public setting (like on your Facebook wall) only sending it directly to the person you want to talk with. Additionally, if someone you don’t know enters the call, you should close it down immediately. *Note, these are good practices to follow for any video calling site!
  • Facetime: If you and the person you would like to video call both have an Apple device, Facetime is by far the easiest option for you! Simply click on your contacts, search for the person you want to call, and click the Facetime video option. It’s that easy!
  • Skype: Skype is a platform that has some history – it’s been around for a while. It can be a bit slower on your computer and, if you download it, will start up automatically each time you turn on your computer. You can turn that setting off though and still use Skype successfully. One of the reasons some people love Skype is that it’s useful for sharing photos and other files in its text chat section while on a video call. We suggest only using this one if you want to share pictures while you talk! To learn more, see this link. 
  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and is an easy way to essentially “facetime” anyone on their phone or tablet, regardless of whether they have an Apple device. You will want to download the app onto your device, create an account, and allow it the option to “sync your contacts.” Then, click the “calls” button. Finally, click the phone icon in the top right corner of your screen, and tap the “video” icon of anyone you would like to video call. You can also video call people straight from Facebook. If you go into your messages tab or messenger app, you can video call anyone you have already started a conversation with.

Meeting Virtually – Almost as good as the “real” thing!

We hope this quick guide for staying in touch will help you feel closer to your friends and family, whether they are around the world or around the corner! The Covid19 pandemic has created some difficult and occasionally lonely times for many of us but has also, I think, reconnected us in ways we might never before have thought of. We are changing the way we connect with people and if anything, for many of us, stronger bonds with friends and family are being forged through our cumulative efforts to truly stay in touch with one another. My peeps and I meet once a week on facetime and even my Mum and my 80+ year old Auntie have figured out how to facetime one another on their ipads, making a cup of coffee and sharing some time together each morning. It took me just a few minutes and a few screenshots sent via text to help them navigate this new way of “visiting.” Plus, living in a northern climate subject to snow days in the winter, the great thing about all these new skills is that we now have a permanent way of staying connected even on cold, wintery days! But for now, let’s focus on spring’s arrival and the opportunity to safely venture outdoors while practicing physical distancing and, more importantly, on staying in touch through video with our friends and family!

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