We need to all understand how to video chat. Last week in a news conference, Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, said that it shouldn’t be called social distancing. It should be called physical distancing. I couldn’t agree more. Yes, we need to stay apart physically, but it may be more important than any time in my almost 70 years on this planet to maintain social closeness.

How to Video Chat 

So, here’s the deal. I’m old and not always open to new things but let me tell you about my social calendar last week. My schedule was “virtually” as busy with gatherings and meetings as any week I can remember. I took part in a chat with more than 20 friends on Google Meetings. Then I was interviewed for a podcast on Zoom. Before that, I was part of a three-member TKO Graphix marketing team meeting on Microsoft Teams. Next, I had a conference with my primary care physician on WebEx, and last but not least I was invited to a dance party with my daughter and granddaughter using FaceTime. Here’s my point, If I can do this …

Zoom

Zoom is easy to sign up for and to use. The free version of Zoom limits meetings to 40 minutes, the next level is $14.99 a month. My hat’s off to Zoom for removing the 40-minute limit for schools K through 12. Awesome. Last Thursday I hosted a Zoom meeting with a dozen friends. Zoom extended the session for us. We met for more than an hour, thank you Zoom. I’m using the free versions of all the apps until I decide which, if any, I want to take to the next level. The introductory free version of Zoom includes:

  • Host up to 100 participants
  • Unlimited 1 to 1 meetings
  • 40 mins limit on group meetings
  • Unlimited number of meetings
  • Ticket Support
  • Video Conferencing Features Web Conferencing Features
  • Group Collaboration Features
  • Security

Google Hangouts and Google Meetings

Google Hangouts is a free chat and video conferencing app. Earlier I said I hadn’t used video conferencing very much, and that is true. However, I had used Google Hangouts before last week. Hangouts is limited to 25 people on a video conference (150 in a chat), so if you need more, Google Meetings could be your answer. Although I have used Google Hangouts, I had never used Google Meetings until I was part of the 20-person chat, which I mentioned earlier. One of the participants shared a link that allows you to see everyone in the meeting, Google Meet Grid View. The meeting went without hitches. Anyone can join a Google Meeting. However, if you want to conduct Google Meetings, you need to purchase G suite. The basic is six dollars a month and includes the following:

WebEx

WebEx I had a teleconference with my primary care physician last week using WebEx. It was glitchy, but I don’t blame the app — it could be anything. Having said that, my doctor confided in me that her group was developing their own video conference site to have something easier to use and more consistent. I haven’t used WebEx enough to pass judgment. If you have used it, please share your experience.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is more than a video meeting app; it’s a collaborative tool. The marketing team at TKO Graphix, uses it for chats, social media calendar, blog editorial calendar, video meetings, and more. There are versions ranging from five to twenty dollars per month (with a year commitment). Here’s some of what’s included:

  • Chat and collaboration
  • Meetings and calling
  • Productivity apps and services
  • Security and compliance
  • Administration and support

FaceTime

FaceTime is a video chat application developed by Apple, which can be used across various platforms. I don’t consider it a video conferencing app but more for personal connections, but that’s me. A friend mentioned in one of the Zoom meetings that last summer she flew several states away to show her 93-year-old mother-in-law how to use FaceTime. Last week they had a virtual family reunion, and mom was able to participate using FaceTime. If you’ve not used it – it’s easy and fun. Here’s how to make a FaceTime call.

“To make a FaceTime call, you need the person’s phone number or registered email address. There are a few ways to make a FaceTime call:

  • In the FaceTime app, tap the plus button and type the person’s phone number or email address. Tap the number or address, then tap Audio or Video .
  • If you have the person’s phone number or email address saved in your Contacts, you can start typing their name and tap the name when it appears. Then tap Audio or Video .
  • You can also start a FaceTime video call from your iPhone during a phone call. Tap the FaceTime icon in the Phone app to switch to FaceTime.” — Apple Support

If I Can Do it!

Like I said earlier, if I can do it, a dyed in the wool boomer who didn’t use a computer until I was … well old, so can you. Yes, we need to practice physical distancing but now more than ever we need to be supportive and social. Please share with us the platforms you’ve used for virtual meet-ups and your opinion of them. For example are you using Instagram, Skype, Snapchat or something else? We are all learn how to video chat. Thank you.

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash