5 Technologies for Keeping Together When We’re Far Apart

Right now, it’s hard to see friends and family face to face. But there are more ways to connect remotely than ever, and more things to do from a place of remote connection. Here are a few ideas.

Video Chatting

Tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype make it easy to see and hear your loved ones even when they’re far away. And the addition of video makes it possible to do more than just talk. For one thing, you can play games. Old family favourites like Pictionary, Charades, and Scattergories translate easily to video chat, and you can use tools like screen share in Teams to make gameplay even easier.

Another good use of video chat is as a teaching tool. You might be missing out on the apple crumble your mom makes every Easter, but she could teach you and the rest of the family how to make it over video.

If you miss watching movies or TV with others, remember that video chat tools can let you do that with screen sharing.

And if you’re missing dinner-table conversation, remember that you can always meet up with friends and family digitally and eat together. You can’t share a meal, but you can share meal time.

Online Gaming

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, Epic, and Blizzard are all platforms that have games you can play online. Whether you favour co-op or competitive games, they’re a great way to spend time with someone—especially if you’re short on things to say. Even if you’re not much of a gamer, don’t worry. Lots of games are simple to pick up.

You could try hosting a regular game night—for example, Among Us Saturdays with friends and family. Or you can pick up a game with a story that can be experienced in co-op mode, like Gears 5. If you get enough interest, you can even try setting up a tournament. Smash tournaments are fun in person, so they’re fun online too.

Phone Calls

Depending on your age, you’re either thinking “Well, duh,” or “Why would I talk on the phone?”

But there’s a bit of charm to setting aside some time to chat over voice—especially if you happen to have a home phone with a long coiled cord. Sometimes calls really are better than text.

Facebook Groups

It’s time to revive small-scale Facebook groups. What better way to run a book club when your book club members are in three different time zones? Or coordinate training among a handful of people who will run their first 5K in a couple of months? Or share things among friends and family that aren’t necessarily for your broader friendship circle?

Whether you want to dip a toe into a new hobby, learn a new language, share a specific part of your life, work towards a goal, or just do something with others, you can always do that something and share it digitally over a Facebook group with others doing that same something.

The Mail

Yep. Regular ol’ snail mail. When was the last time you received a letter? Or sent a letter? It’s about more than the novelty. Social media makes it easy to share things, so the things we share sometimes end up being superficial. By taking the time to sit down and write a letter, you might help create a deeper connection to the person with whom you’re corresponding.