Socializing in the times of post-pandemic

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock shows the Vulcan salute, usually accompanied with the words, "Live long and prosper." (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

The World as we know it is over. Hello, World!

In this article, we cover the best digital ways of staying in touch.

Rethinking basic life-keeping techniques is occupying our minds these days. Cooking, cleaning, working, studying, and of course, keeping connected – gets reinvented again.

Keeping connection with family and friends is reinvented again.

Schools and businesses are reopening and some children are allowed to attend classes. Small kids may just be asked to check-in daily on the institutional websites or through a parent’s chatting channel.

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There are no music classes or judo training. There are no football or soccer gatherings. There’s no ballet… yet. Attending chess classes, dancing, gymnastics, swimming, athletics — is prohibited as well.

It will return very soon. With teens laughing in the middle of the night, evening joggers, bakery flavor in the air, morning garbage trucks that drive everybody crazy.

Chick-to-chick greetings, hugs, and handshakes are outside of the law. The handshakes tradition has been killed by the Pandemic and replaced by alternative, sometimes cinematic ways.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode ‘Amok Time’. Spock shows the Vulcan salute, usually accompanied with the words, “Live long and prosper.” The image is a screengrab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

So, what do we do in the meantime?

We keep up with the regular things — studying from home, shopping online, and working remotely until we are asked to return.

People are very social beings. Without communication, we get bored, uncomfortable, and depressive. We need to meet people. We must keep connected. We need to talk and listen.

How people should keep communicating?

Well, there are a couple of methods, depending on your occupation and needs.

Co-workers

Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet

A simplified idea for the category is collaboration tools. These are intended to cover a wide area of communication needs. They provide channels for personal and group chats, file sharing and a quick search through conversations, integration with 3rd party tools (being able to see a preview of Google Documents or receive notifications directly from production systems right into a channel) and much more.

While they do have free packages, most of them are created with distributed, multi-disciplinary, professional teams in mind. Oh, and they also allow calling and screen sharing — very handy features while working on a task with multiple people.

voice calls
screen sharing
wide range of customizations and permissions
file sharing
3rd party integrations

All of the mentioned systems have support for Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android and iPadOS.

Schools, kindergartens, neighborhoods

WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, Telegram

Group chatting and video conferencing.
While collaboration tools do have fairly good video and screen-sharing abilities, these are not intended for webinars or quick phone-like person-to-person calls.

Classic messengers are much handier in this case. 
Collaboration tools are based on your email account and require proper signing in and authentications.
Messengers don’t usually ask for your email but try to convince you in uploading the whole phone book to the service thus providing ways of immediate checking if the person has been introduced to the service already. It allows you to quickly select a way of contacting the person, trying to call or send a message and receive push notifications upon responses.

phone book connection
voice and video calls
text and media messages

Messengers do usually work on most existing systems (Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, iPadOS, and Android). The biggest power is using them on mobile phones though.

Families and kids

HedzApp, Messenger Kids

Location-aware chat
As it comes to children, especially kids below age 13, having an option of proper conversation or a video call becomes less important.
Children do not tell long stories, they react. Kids are very emotional and communication tools have to be able to provide ways of expressing emotions while blocking offensive words, bullying. These apps are usually controlled by parents — the owners of the family circles.

Children do not tell stories, they react.

expressing creativity
blocking offensive behavior
preventing bullying
managed by parents
location tracking

HedzApp adds a couple of very uniques features in this matter, compared to Messenger Kids (which, unfortunately, is available in selected countries only).

The biggest feature HedzApp has created around is blocking the recipient screen until a message is responded to. Kids, grandparents and parents themselves tend to miss important alerts in the constant stream of tens and hundreds of notifications hitting our devices every day.
HedzApp makes sure no important message gets lost.

HedzApp makes sure no important message gets lost.

Another very nice feature we liked is seeing the location of the device before the person gets a chance to respond. It becomes handy when messaging a kid and immediately seeing the location of the home or grandparents.

The third feature we loved a lot is the availability of SOS alerts. They play sound alerts upon arrival while ignoring the volume settings of the device. Kids and grown-ups frequently put their phones on silent while at school or meetings and forget to change the settings back.
SOS allows you to reach the loved one immediately or just… locate a device that has been lost somewhere inside the house.

Friends

WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Instagram
Mixed media

Communicating with friends depends on your age, habits, number of friends and frequency you usually speak with them.

Facebook is good at following distant friends, sharing personal updates and seeing what’s going on on their side. It’s good also for quick conversations through Facebook Messenger (or even phone calls) while WhatsApp and Telegram are more likely to be used for calls instead.

Instagram is great in sharing moments of your life while for the weeks to come most of the pictures will be limited to our living space.

We hope it changes sooner than later and we go to our normal lives again.

Stay safe!

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