Instead of adding this to those discussions, I wanted to really zero in on video hangouts as a social strategy for these times. Even us introverts need our meaningful connections.
I just hosted my first Zoom video hangout with family and I LOVED it! Sure, I'm a dork, but I think others enjoyed it, too.
Zoom - https://zoom.us/ Free Zoom accounts limit meetings to 40 minutes, but I had signed up (paid) for a Pro account a while ago, so we were able to meet for a little over an hour.
StreamYard - https://streamyard.com A friend just told me she prefers StreamYard to Zoom, claiming its also free and uses less bandwidth. I haven't tried it. If you have, let us know your thoughts in this thread!
There are other platforms and I've listed my reasons for not using them, though you might have better success with these than me:
--Skype - became clunky and awkward and log in changed when Microsoft took it over
--FaceTime - only for Mac/Apple devices, which I don't have
--Google Hangouts - last time I tried Hangouts, it was glitchy and spotty, though it's been a while since I've tried.
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Are there other video chat platforms you use?
Hi Jocelyn, Desperate times cause people to rethink their standards, but I want to put a shout-out for remembering privacy concerns.
There are communications software and servers promising respect to users, instead of surveillance (free libre and open source software).
+ Jitsi is working for video conferences, right in your browser page.
+ Mumble is very stable for audio.
These actually free software are among many, and are run on community servers for low prices or with free membership. This month, with five days notice, a software ethics conference went remote in March with completely free software when COVID-19 broke. https://libreplanet.org/wiki/LibrePlanet:Conference/2020/Streaming I attended that conference remotely with Jitsi, and it was great. There were up to 200 people watching each talk.
For more information about this world-wide movement, check out the search term "federated web" or "fediverse", where community minded system-administrators are putting free-software tools together as a distributed web of inter-operable nodes. Remember it isn't really free of cost if you are selling your data in exchange for renting the software.
Personally, I hate being in photos, let alone video, but I have been thankful to be part of "video" chats with my normally real-life weekly meet-up group. I turn off my camera, but get to see others, talk like we normally do in person, almost. We've been using Jitsi for a couple weeks, since we saw the success at that conference I mentioned. It took some time talking about how to turn our volume to the right levels and stuff like that, but it became just one topic to talk about.
Thanks for the question Jocyelyn. Hope all are well, and with some time, I'll look back to see if anyone asks me questions about this stuff.
Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
Oh, neat! I was hoping others would chime in, and those two options, Jitsi, and Mumble, sound great, Antigone!
Our family has had two Zoom video hangouts so far, and we are loving the experience (despite any privacy concerns).
Two choice moments, were seeing my new grandbaby stare at the faces on the screen, and my sister and her son, standing up in front of the camera to show how my nephew is now taller than his mom. And he's not even 14 yet! Those were priceless moments for me.
And while this next link is Zoom-specific, I certainly look forward to trying some of these out at my next family hangout. Plus, I wonder if other video apps have similar hacks or tricks.