Staying Connected

Staying Connected

Distant, but Still Social

As the world shifts to online learning and remote working, millions of people are asking the same question: how can we stay social and stay safe at the same time? Although we cannot physically be together, the wonders of technology allow us to maintain our connections and close relationships as though we were face-to-face. Here are some of our favorite virtual platforms that we have utilized throughout this social distancing period.

Netflix Party:

  • This free extension to Google Chrome allows you to binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows with your friends while maintaining social distancing
  • Simply install the extension, open your favorite Netflix video, and click “Create Party.”
  • Share the URL to watch Tiger King in perfect sync with all your cool cats and kittens!
  • Take your conversation to a new level by uploading relatable Michael Scott GIFs to the chat.

Things to Consider:

  • Netflix Party is only available on Google Chrome for desktop or laptop.
  • Netflix Party does not support content from other streaming platforms.
  • Users must have a verified Netflix account.

Go Live from Discord:

  • Wishing you could watch other movies or games with your friends? Go Live from Discord enables you to share your screen from streaming or gaming platforms, so you never miss a second of the action.
  • Install the desktop client, create a server, and click “Go Live” in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Snicker with your friends via chat, video, or voice features.
  • Create different threads within a group to keep track of all of your conversations!
  • Go Live normally allows 10 people per streaming session, but this limit has been temporarily expanded to allow 50 people to participate at one time.

Things to Consider:

  • Go Live’s screen share feature is only available on desktop clients.


  • Create a Houseparty with your squad and receive notifications when your friends enter the app.
  • Connect to your contacts or your Facebook or Snapchat friends to create groups of up to 8 people per room.
  • If you’re the life of the party, create an infinite number of rooms and float easily between them to never miss a moment.
  • Show your competitive streak by challenging your friends to in-chat games, including Heads Up!, Trivia, Chips and Guac.

Instagram Video Chat:

  • Instagram users can easily use the app’s direct messaging feature to start a video call with their friends.
  • Swipe right within the app and tap the video camera icon to start a conversation.

Things to Consider:

  • Up to 6 people can participate in an Instagram Video Chat.

Jackbox Games:

  • Host a virtual game night with Jackbox Games for hilarious competition.
  • After a host starts a game, other players use their phones as their controllers.
  • Start a video call to play with friends from around the world!

Things to consider:

  • The host must purchase a game or party package from Jackbox Games before playing


  • Facetime is a reliable and convenient way to video call your closest friends.
  • Facetime’s secure network provides its users a great connection so they never lose an important call.

Things to consider:

  • Facetime is only available for Apple products.


  • Zoom’s free version allows up to 100 members to video call for up to 40 minutes
  • Use a virtual background to appear in some of your favorite places, including State.
  • Easy screen sharing capabilities make presentations a breeze.
  • Zoom provides in-depth live support for its users.


  • Skype offers a variety of features, including instant messaging, conference calls, and international and domestic video calls.
  • Small groups can utilize the free version. Students can access Skype through their school emails and Outlook accounts.
  • Additional business features can be accessed through Office365.
  • Skype has great audio for its calls.

Things to Consider:

  • Skype may freeze frequently, and when it does, it is often difficult to get support.
  • Skype uses a lot of bandwidth.

Social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t be social. It simply means that we have to get a little more creative with our plans.  We are fortunate to live in a world that thrives on technology, making staying connected with friends easier than ever.

This piece was compiled by University Marketing student writers, Kimmie Collins and Michael Smith.