Millions of people are hunkered down, implementing social distancing and work-from-home norms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has hampered regular social life. All of a sudden, Saturday night movies, dinner with friends, or just a drink at the local bar is a far fetched dream. Although maintaining personal health and safety is of utmost importance, many people still find it disturbing to see their social life vaporized suddenly. However, there is some good news. Thanks to the internet and social media apps, you can have a buzzing social life through the virtual medium.
There are some tried-and-tested apps that are fun, engaging, and add an element of normalcy to the otherwise mundane and strange social-distancing practices all around. But before you go downloading all the apps and overload your device, here are some tips and tricks to choose the perfect app for socializing during the Coronavirus lockdown.
- Read reviews
There are thousands of social apps all over the Internet, each one promising to be a whole lot of fun. However, it is essential to know what the app is all about and not get swayed by fancy packaging. Remember, all that glitters may not always be gold. Hence, a proper study of the app’s official website is a must. You should also read reviews from people who are already using the app. Sometimes, these apps ask for a lot of information and permissions that might make you vulnerable as you give out sensitive information. It is essential to do a thorough study and proper research before registering for any socializing apps.
- Do not give out personal information
Many social media apps ask for personal information such as bank account details, address, and more. It is advisable not to fall prey to such gimmicks and give out all kinds of sensitive information, especially at sign up. You need to check out the firewalls and security alerts before signing up for such apps. A reputed app will have a proper set of terms and conditions that will define its lawful usage. It is advisable to read reviews of people already using the app and understand the challenges. This will save you a lot of trouble in the future. If you are a teenager, get your parents or guardians to have a look at the rules and regulations of the app before joining up.
- Choose a cross-platform compatible app
Many of the social apps work well only on a single operating system. This can be frustrating because if you happen to change your device and shift from one operating system to another, you will not be able to use those apps. it is sensible to sign up for only those apps that are compatible with all operating systems, including iOS, Android and others. For instance, Paltalk, a popular video chatting portal in the US, is compatible with all systems giving users the choice to use any gadget and any operating system.
- Cost-effectiveness of the app
There are numerous socializing apps available online today and most of them allow you to sign up for no fee at all. These apps are good if you want to have some entertainment without wanting to spend money. However, some premium services in such apps come at a cost. So always read the terms and conditions beforehand and understand the payment terms well. Otherwise, at a later stage when you are hooked onto the app, it could leave a hole in your pocket.
- Public group chat rooms
Sometimes it is fun to have private chats with your loved ones or meet new people in private chat rooms. However, if you are looking to indulge in interesting discussions and debates with strangers or want to be a part of a larger group to meet a lot of new people, then public chat rooms are the best solutions. You can be a part of a single public group chat room or even be in many such rooms at the same time. All you have to do is know your interest, passion, and preferences and join in. Many apps have a lot of free and live public chat rooms that allow you to engage with many people. Just remember not to divulge sensitive information on such platforms.
- Fun rewards
Video chatting excels when it includes interesting conversation, fun games, and rewards. Many of the apps help break the monotony of basic conversation through games and prizes in the form of reward credits and stickers. For instance, Paltalk has a special feature called Gifts and Stickers through which you can send a gift to a stranger to break the ice or to enter a chat room. You can also use different stickers to show a wide range of emotions to your family and friends. All these are engaging and entertaining ways of communicating, making video chatting a lot of fun especially during these times of social isolation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Easy shareability of files
Imagine chatting with a stranger and not being able to share your picture with them or play your favorite playlist. It can be quite frustrating. Video chatting can prove to be a lot of fun if you can share documents, pictures, audio, and videos with one another. It makes the whole experience more engaging and interactive. always look for apps that offer this feature. Video chatting portals like Paltalk have a unique feature called MediaPal in which you can post YouTube and SoundCloud clips in the chat room for you and your friends to enjoy together. This feature is especially great in today’s time of social isolation as it creates a feeling of togetherness and bonhomie even through the virtual medium. In fact, people are having virtual parties on video chatting platforms with someone sharing a good music playlist or a video clip and everyone enjoying it together.
Many people are not comfortable sharing their personal details with strangers, especially when they are meeting them on video chatting platforms for the first time. Thus, look out for apps that allow you to maintain your anonymity for as long as possible. This will ensure your safety and also enable you to relax and speak freely.
- Multilingual facility
Many people around the world are not comfortable speaking in English. This hinders their video chatting experience in English-dominated apps. If you are one of those who want to converse only in your local language, fret not, as there are many apps that give the user the freedom to chat in many different languages. This helps ease communication and helps you find people from your region on a global video chatting platform.
- Moderation within chat rooms
A good chat room will have moderators who will ensure that the room works seamlessly with a proper structure and without unnecessary hooliganism. These moderators or administrators ensure that the chat room functions the way the owners intend it to. They have the power to ban someone from the chat room if they do not adhere to the rules. They can also control when you speak, share audio, videos, or participate in a text chat. This helps new members to introduce themselves and interact with everyone. They also have the power to bounce a member for a period of 24 hours as a warning for misbehavior. If the trend continues, the administrators can completely ban them from entering that chat room
It is essential to look for moderation features and practices while browsing through apps, as it will safeguard you against hooligans within a chat room and also let the chat room run smoothly for the purpose that it was intended to.
- Amp up your style with filters
There are many vendors offering social apps, but how do you differentiate and stay entertained? The latest thing that some of the reputed video chatting portals have started is adding new video filters. These filters amp up your style quotient, alter your look, and add some fun to your chat. Are you ready to get that beach glow or look like your favorite Hollywood diva with just the click of a button? Use the video filters offered by these apps and transform from your regular lockdown look into something fancy and fashionable.
Essential things required before starting live video chatting
Above are some of the must-haves to look for while narrowing down your choice for a socializing app. However, before choosing the app, it is crucial to have your basic set up in place in order to have a seamless experience. Here are some pointers that will help you.
- Internet speed
To have a continuous and uninterrupted video chatting experience you definitely need to have a good internet connection with adequate speed. Note that video chatting requires good bandwidth as compared to simple emailing, texting, or web browsing.
The app you download must be compatible with all kinds of gadgets, be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer. Sometimes, you need to upgrade your software or even your device in order to use the latest version of a video chat app. This will help in proper and complete downloading of the app without taking up too much space on your gadget. It is also necessary that the gadget you use runs on any operating system including, Windows, iOS, and others. This will allow for fast streaming and connection.
- A good webcam
Many gadgets have built-in cameras but these are not reliable especially for video chatting as they are low resolution. If video chatting is the new normal for socializing, it is best to invest in an external HD image webcam. It can be bought online easily at a discounted rate, so you do not have to worry about shopping from a retail outlet in times of the coronavirus pandemic.
- A quiet space for video chatting
While video chatting, it is vital to give complete attention to the person you are talking to. Ensure that you are sitting in a closed room with no outside distractions in the form of noise or people. Try to have as much natural lighting as possible and do not sit right in front of a window. It’s best to have light coming onto your face so that your image is clear, so sit facing the window or light source whenever possible. If possible, have a pleasing background too, as it will create an excellent ambiance to have a meaningful conversation.
The number of coronavirus cases is on the rise globally and the public health authorities are coming down firmly in maintaining social distancing and isolation. Though this mandate is essential for your physical health, it also has an impact on mental health and emotional well-being. As the world fights its worst public health crisis this century, people are facing distress and turmoil due to the unprecedented lockdown and complete upheaval of routine life. However, you should take this opportunity to explore digital platforms whenever possible and use them to your advantage. Join interesting social apps to reach out to others like you who are cooped up in their homes devoid of any company.
Use video chat service providers like Paltalk to make new friends and to reconnect with old ones and navigate through these periods of extreme uncertainty and social isolation. With these handy tips, you are sure to find interesting apps to make your otherwise boring, isolated life a little more meaningful and exciting. It’s time to get socially active again!