Apps to make new friends and then some
https://quarantinechat.com/ by Dialup - This is a cool app and web platform where you get called by a stranger and talk about absolutely anything. I talked to some of these folks for hours and even shared some secrets. It was a refreshing way to talk about deep subjects without fear.
https://twine.nyc/priority/36726236 (use this code to bypass the wait list) - Twine is similar to Dialup where you connect with a stranger but is different in format. Here, there is no small talk. You pick a scheduled time and get matched with someone for 8 minutes and get one deep question you both answer. You preselect all your favorite deep questions and get matched with someone else who picked a common question.
https://www.focusmate.com/ - NOT TO MAKE FRIENDS but can give you 3-7 minutes with someone new while tackling your work or projects. This is almost like a an online coworking space. You get set up with a partner for a 50 minute session where you both work quietly together while on camera. It's like having someone else in the room. By the end, you each share what you accomplished and go on your merry way. This is great if you procrastinate.
Tools to gather your friends online and reconnect
Check out icebreaker.video for a light way to introduce group members one on one. The focus starts in a group text chat with only the moderators on video. Then you get sent to a room with one other person on video with a few ice breaker prompts to keep you going. It felt a lot less heavy compared to breakout rooms on Zoom. Rumor has it that they may give your group free access if you ask nicely.
theonline.town is a Mario looking online room where you can walk up to different groups of people to chat. The tech is a bit weird. It's not ideal for a small group. We did it with a group of 15 and it was sort of fun. You move your little character around a virtual room and can walk up too groups of people like you would at an event. Whoever you are near will then pop up on video. It's totally free at the moment.
Toucan.Events is a way to feel like you are at a real life networking event. They have these sort of pods. You can jump between different conversations with ease. I had a blast with this. It's still new so lots of testing and improvements, but had a lot of fun. See if you can get invited to one of their betas.
Facebook launched a feature called "rooms" that is a cross between Zoom and Houseparty. You can create a room for you and a select group of friends. It sends them each a link via Facebook Messenger. They can come or go as they please. I loved it. I invited 13 of my good friends one night when I was feeling bored. I had 4 of them join and we had a blast. It's a lot less rigid then Zoom and feels serendipitous.
Apps to seek support
http://whisper.sh/ - this took some inspiration from Post Secret where people reveal secrets anonymously. A lot of teens use it but some adults do too. It's a great place to get the help you want on something especially if you don't want to go to friends. You do get people who are weird and want to see your pictures, if you can look past that, there are great people ready to give advice. I also find myself contributing back to the community. Also, I went viral on this app a couple times but without any name recognition and that is cool.
Games to use with friends
http://fake-artist.herokuapp.com/ - It's sort of like Mafia/Werewolf but with art. Everyone gets a prompt for drawing. Each person draws one bit of the picture. The catch is that one person doesn't know what the picture is and they have to go along with drawing and do their best to look in the know. If everyone guesses the faker at the end of 2 rounds, the faker gets a chance to guess the picture. If they get it right, they win. If not, everyone else wins.
https://allbad.cards/ - This is the best online version of Cards Against Humanity that I have seen. It was so good that I even sent the creator money on Venmo. You can add and remove people during the game, adjust time to submit a card, and even change the score needed to win.
Jackbox Games - You purchase a "party pack" with a series of games you can play with anyone. The games are funny and can be played with anyone who has access to a web browser. Some games involve drawing, humor, and lying. My favorites are Guesspionage, Drawful, Fibbage, Survive the Internet, Trivia Murder Party, Bidiots, and a crowd favorite, Quiplash.
Top 10 online training techniques
Zoom Activity Ideas
Google Slides Survey - Create a Google slideshow where everyone is able to edit the document at the same time. Add a table with as many squares as you anticipate participants. Ask everyone to answer an ice breaker in their own box. By the end, you will see all the live answers come into the same slide and you can see when people are done based on watching the cursors move. This idea was inspired by university educator Chelsea Troy and creative email marketer, Emily Mcguire.
Anonymous sharing - Get everyone on your Zoom call to change their name to just a dot. "." like that. Then ask participants questions. They can be light or they can be deep. Have them type their answers and submit in the chat at the same time. When they do reveal, all the answers will stay anonymous. Everyone will leave with warm fuzzies inside. When the participants change their name back, the answers still stay anonymous. It's a great way to get a bunch of people to share. The host added "Important tip RE the anonymous game — if the last person to go as a "." is also the 1st person to go once names are changed back, it'll be obvious that their anonymous answer was theirs as it'll append to their follow up, real name answer. So the host needs to make sure to either be the last "." or needs to type something in the Chat once everyone changes their names back." I got this from the amazing Saya Hillman Mac & Cheese Productions at her un-networking event called a Mingler. This woman changed my life when I saw her live TEDx talk back in 2013.
Group Art - Get a page from a digital coloring book. If you are the host of your Zoom, share the screen with that work of art. Then click the setting in Zoom that allows anyone in the room to "annotate." At this point anyone on the phone or the computer can draw on the same artwork. Imagine how cool this was when I learned this from Creative Mornings Chicago? The cool was filled with artists.
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