The old advice of “Stay off your phones!” has turned into “I’ll see you online!”
Just because we can’t gather face to face with our friends and family doesn’t mean we have to lose touch.
We can still stay socially connected during social distancing with help from the internet. Even if it means learning new tools that we didn’t know existed before COVID-19. (Has anyone used the Netflix Party extension to watch shows together?)
Our 5-member book club met together last Sunday. Not in person, but online. And it was so fun! None of us had drive time or had to clean up our living room or even had to get out of our pj’s if we didn’t want to.
Ways to Connect
Here are favorite ways I’m staying in contact with the outside world.
What are your favorites?
The old standby Facebook has come back in vogue. It’s become a gathering hub again, with an explosion of hilarious memes as well as seriously scary articles about COVID-19.
One of my Facebook groups is going to memorize Psalm 91 together through Do Not Depart. I’ll share more later, but if that interests you, join our Hide His Word Facebook group now.
2. Video Calling on Facebook
This is like FaceTime, but for lots of people at once (like Zoom). You can see everyone on the screen at the same time. And if you already have Facebook messenger, you don’t need to download any special app for this. This is what we used for our book club discussion.
On your Messenger screen, click the video icon in the upper right corner. It works with both Android and iPhone. On your computer, you have to use Firefox or Chrome browsers; it won’t work with Safari yet.
3. Marco Polo App
This works like sending a text, except you record a video instead of typing or recording words. You can send your message to one person at a time or set up a group. It’s super easy to use; just start and stop. Your recipients can watch when it’s convenient for them, just like reading a text, and they can reply back with their own video.
One of my groups includes my siblings. Thanks to the app, my younger sister showed us her new house being built and my sister-in-law showed us her cherry tree in bloom, things I wouldn’t have seen even in normal times.
4. The Regulars . . .
Plus more: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, texting, and actual talking on the phone (even though it’s so 20th century, I know).
For more ideas, see Gretchen Rubin’s article, “Coping with COVID-19: Ideas for Staying Connected in this Time of Social Distancing.”
Isn’t there something special about seeing a familiar face pop up on your screen and hearing a familiar voice in your ears? God made us this way. He designed us to connect with each other, just as he, Jesus, and Holy Spirit connect.
And when possible, he wants us to connect face to face. Even Jesus himself came down here in person, put on flesh like ours, and walked and talked among us. How blessed were those who got a physical hug from the Son of God.
But just as we now stay connected with Jesus without seeing his physical body, we can also stay connected with each other.
Online may not feel as intimate as in-person. But it’s far better than nothing at all.
So connect online. Don’t worry about how you look. Or how you sound. Or whether you’ve got something interesting to say or are boring.
Your loved ones won’t care. They just want to see you and hear you. Just like you want to see and hear them.
Our bonds are stronger than our distance. Let’s stay connected.
How are you staying connected during social distancing? Please share in the comments.
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