How to socialise remotely

Some top tips to help you connect with friends and family from afar…

25 Mar 2020


When you can’t visit friends or family, you can still connect with them. Better than that, you can socialise with them remotely - with a little help from some clever apps and impressive tech. So, check out our top tips, and start planning your virtual social life…

Hook up for a video chat

One of the easiest ways to stay connected with others is a group video call. WhatsApp lets up to four people get involved in a good old chat. Got an extended family or social circle? Then Skype’s video group calling lets you connect with up to 50 people. Just don’t all talk at once!

For a one-to-one video call, Facebook Portal is the smart way of doing things. Its camera automatically adjusts to stay with the action, so it’ll let grandparents see what the kids are up to – even if they’re not too keen on staying still. Or what about doing a bake -off together? The camera will track everything automatically, so you won’t have to touch the screen with your floury fingers.

Our favourite Portal feature has to be Story Time, where grandparents can become part of their grandchildrens’ bed -time stories. AR effects transforms them into characters as they read along, and music and other animation brings the story to life even more. For little ones, it can be quite magical.


Have a house party

As the old song almost goes: “there ain’t no party like a Houseparty app party”. Over the last few weeks, this has become the go-to app for anyone wanting a virtual get-together.

It looks a lot like a typical video calling app, with faces of all the guests appearing on-screen at once. But it’s incredibly easy to use, and comes with a few fun games to play.

Houseparty connects you with friends on your other social networks like Facebook and Snapchat. As soon as you sign up, you’ll be made aware of who you can connect with.

You’ll be alerted whenever a friend is ‘in the house’ and ready for a chat. You can then start a call with them, or jump into a ‘house party’ that’s already going. Couldn’t be easier.

The app’s already sparked a mini-trend dubbed ‘AperiTV’, where party guests enjoy dinner and drinks while they chat. Plus, the big advantage for the host is that there are no guests outstaying their welcome at the end of the night… sounds like this could catch on even when we’re allowed out.


Do a pub quiz at home

Goose’s Quizzes is an Edinburgh pub quiz business. And while we’re all locked down and not allowed in the pub, the company is streaming a nightly online quiz show using the Twitch app. Want to join in? Then tune in here at 7pm, get your thinking caps on, and invite ‘Goose into yer hoose’.

The company’s founder, Andrew Wildgoose (real name) says: “It's been a pretty bad couple of weeks and pub quizzes bring the community together. So we wanted to find a way for people to still enjoy them." Have a go, and see what you think.

Fancy organising a quiz yourself? It’s pretty easy to do with the Houseparty app above. To be the quiz-master, just tap the dice icons near the top right of the screen, choose the ‘Triva’ icon, invite friends, and get quizzing. Up to 8 people can play.