home

"I want to have virtual drinks! But how the heck do I use Houseparty?" A step-by-step guide.

It’s of the utmost importance that we do our best to stay at home right now.

While staying in has officially become our civic duty, it leaves our social life a little worse for wear.

Luckily, technology has our back.

Watch: Celebrities are getting creative while self-isolating. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

From hosting a virtual Netflix binge, to making a classic Facebook Video Call and playing games with your friends over House Party, we’ve broken down exactly how to use these apps. We’ve even included screenshots and photos that even the most technology-impaired pal (or relative) will be able to decipher.

You’re welcome.

1. House Party

If you’re a bit bored with a normal video call, might we recommend the app Houseparty. The group chat app has become the unexpected MVP while we’ve been self-quarantining and lets you play games while sipping your wine or gin and tonic.

1. Download the Houseparty app or Chrome extension. It’s available on iOS, Android, macOS and Chrome, I downloaded the Chrome extension and it took less than 30 seconds to install.

2. Create an account. This took maybe a minute and involves a mobile phone verification and an optional Facebook authentication. It’s also free to sign up.

3. The easiest way to add your friends into the app is by clicking on ‘Add Friends’ and sharing your ‘Copy Profile Link’. House Party lets you have up to eight people in one call.

coronavirus social distancing friends
ADVERTISEMENT

4. From here you can chat normally or use Houseparty's range of games like Heads Up, Quick Draw, Trivia and Chips and Guac. I originally signed up on my laptop and it would appear that the games are only available on your phone.

coronavirus social distancing friends
I roped in some colleagues to play 'entertainment trivia'.

2. Host a Zoom party.

Ok, so you've probably heard of this 'Zoom' business already, but here's how to actually use it. It's similar to your normal video conferencing software but it's even easier to use. As long as you're the one initiating the call, your guests don't even need to create a proper account.

1. Create an account on Zoom.com. The process is pretty standard and straightforward and took about 30 seconds.

2. Go on the homepage and hover you mouse over the 'host a meeting' tab. Then click into the 'with video on' option.

zoom meeting social distancing
ADVERTISEMENT

3. Follow the prompts which will bring up a Zoom meeting screen. This will also turn your camera on.

zoom meeting social distancing
This is what the screen looks like when you first open the app.

4. Click the 'invite participants' option which will allow you to either copy the 'meeting URL' or send an email link to the people you want on the call. If you want your meeting to be more secure, then you can select the 'Copy Invitation' option which means Zoom will generate a meeting link as well as a Meeting ID and password unique to your meeting. A free account will let you have up to 100 people on a call.

zoom meeting social distancing
ADVERTISEMENT

5. From there your guests just need to click on the link, set up a profile which literally takes about five seconds (according to my Zoom guest) and they will be automatically added to the meeting.

zoom meeting social distancing
Done!

3. Facebook Video Group Call

Perfect for the absolutely technologically challenged. Chances are, most people already regularly use their Facebook Messaging app and already have an existing group chat going.

But if you need handy, easy-to-follow instructions to send to Grandpa Ted, we got you.

1. Open up Facebook Messenger.

2. Either go into an existing group chat or create a new one by adding the people you want to have a video call with.

3. Press the camera button to start a 'video group call' and choose which members of the group you'd like to start a chat with. Facebook lets you view six people on a screen at any given time but you can have up to 50 people in on video call.

coronavirus social distancing friends
Just click on the camera icon.
ADVERTISEMENT

4. Start the video call and you're done! It couldn't be easier.

coronavirus social distancing friends
coronavirus social distancing friends
Done!

4. Have a Netflix Party.

We're gonna guess that you're watching a lot of Netflix at the moment, so why not be social and watch an episode of Sex Education or have a group viewing of Notting Hill. A virtually shared glass of wine highly encouraged.

ADVERTISEMENT

If you need inspiration as to what to watch, consider these new April Netflix releases.

1. Download the Netflix Party extension. This is only available on a Google Chrome browser.

2. Add the extension to your 'Chrome Browser'.

coronavirus social distancing friends

3. Open your Netflix in a Chrome Browser and 'click' on the Netflix Party extension. This brings up an URL link you can share with your friends which will 'sync' your screens and bring up a group chatroom.

coronavirus social distancing friends
Click the 'NP' add-on when you open Netflix.
ADVERTISEMENT

4. Watch your desired movie or series with your friends. It'll (almost) be like you're in the same room.

coronavirus social distancing friends

Other ways you can stay connected with your loved ones while social-distancing:

- Go on Google Hangout or Skype.
- Pick up the phone (so retro).
- Play an online multiplayer game with your nearest and dearest, like Words with Friends 2 or even Monopoly.
- Organise a cook along or virtual dinner party over a video call.
- Instead of texting or Instant Messaging, maybe opt for voice messages instead. It'll feel like more of a connection.

How are you staying contact while you're in social isolation? Tell us in a comment below.

Need a distraction? Take our short survey now.

MMSurvey
00:00 / ???