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So you are keeping your Social Distance, and at the end of Week One the novelty is already beginning to wear off. How will you feel by the end of Week Three? Let alone Month Three?

The Right Tool For the Job

Zoom and Skype are great tools for video conferencing. These are fantastic for work, where everyone shares a calendar, and schedules meetings. And Zoom can be helpful when you do want to chat to many people simultaneously. But these are less helpful for personal connections where bathtime, dinner time, and let’s be honest, Netflix get in the way?

There are a myriad collaboration tools out there, and the default for most groups/families is, of course, Facebook. But this is less than ideal. So then, what are good options for overcoming Social Isolation when Social, i.e. Spatial, Distancing?

Here are a the apps that we use to keep our widely distributed family close through all manner of triumphs and disasters:


WhatsApp is like the SMS app on your Smartphone (iMessage on iPhones), except it works across all brands of smartphone. Much more than just text, you can use WhatsApp for images, videos, voice and video calls. Making it great for small and large groups alike.

We use WhatsApp for everything from 1:1 chats, intimate family groups, and large interest groups. It is far easier to use, and less distracting than Facebook, and easy for all generations to figure out how to use (unlike Snapchat). Even though WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, it appears more private than Facebook Messenger.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo® is on a mission to help people feel close.

Marco Polo does one thing, and one thing very well. Video Chat!

This app was a Godsend when our eldest, Leah, moved to the UK, and 2 weeks later our youngest, Charis, moved to Spain. Despite the time zone difference, we all continue our conversation as a family. Both individually with each other, as well as in a group.

The interface couldn’t be simpler: Open the app, catch up on all the latest video chats, and leave a quick message in reply. That’s it.

Sure, you can add a video or audio filter. Drop emojis in response to a video. All of that. Leave that for TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram. This is a conversation app for letting someone know you miss them, giving them a window into your day, and staying close in a personal, private group.

Privacy that fits in your pocket.


WhatsApp guarantees to encrypt your conversations end-to-end, and protect your privacy. Honest guv! But WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, so make of that what you will. If you want to ensure military grade encryption, and protected conversations, Signal is for you.

There is a lot of private information even in metadata. E.g. just knowing who you contact, when, and for how long, can indicate your level of trust with that individual. Perhaps you don’t care if Facebook can stack rank all of your contacts by trust, and how often you stay in touch. Perhaps you do. If you do, get Signal. Governments can’t crack this thing.

How about you?

What apps do you use for staying in touch? Let me know in the comments below…