Long before 2020 began, families and friends were spending more and more time in the digital realm. Current events, of course, have kept us physically apart. However, in a sense, they have also pushed us digitally closer together.
A wide variety of platforms have popped up to fill this need, allowing families and social groups to spend time together. Some, of course, are obvious and have bordered on household names. Zoom and Google Hangouts are two of the most popular examples of widely used and accessible digital hangouts.
However, they aren’t the be-all, end-all of the digital commodity. Indeed, many people are finding new and creative ways to spend time together online. Here are some of the best examples.
Digital Games Are the New Board Games
In the 1990s, the idea of playing a digital game with a friend began to take shape. People would log online and play real-time strategy games against friends or random strangers on the internet. Then services like Yahoo! Games began to become more plentiful, allowing people to play board games like chess or checkers.
Today, that digital revolution has exploded. You can use video conferencing or in-game services to play any number of games against your friends. Indeed, family and friends across the nation have used the multi-player option that comes standard for countless games. This helps people stay together even when they are physically far apart.
Furthermore, some games have massive party settings, allowing you to get together with as many as a dozen or more friends. If that isn’t enough, there are also Massively-Multiplayer Online games, which allow millions of people across the world to play at the same time. These games have some absolutely incredible features which allow you to go on quests and defeat enemies together.
Even as recently as five years ago, the idea of exercising with your friends over the internet would have been considered absurd. However, times have obviously changed. Now, thanks to digital advances, it is relatively easy to digitally exercise with your friends.
First, there’s Peloton. Peleton has become part of a massive fitness revolution. It is an exercise bike, but comes with a large screen and is connected to a slew of classes. You can, literally, race against thousands of people, take classes, and interact directly with live instructors. You can even make arrangements to exercise with friends, allowing you to work out together.
While Peloton is the market leader now, it has obviously shown the financial potential of this area. We can likely assume that additional means of digital exercise will pop up in the future.
If this isn’t enough for you, there is also a wide array of free workout classes you can take together. Many of these are introductory courses designed to get you hooked. However, you can still use these virtual fitness options to exercise with people you care about.
Many people have also taken to the idea of using communication platforms, like FaceTime or Skype, and keeping them active during a walk. You obviously can’t always exercise with your family, and going for a walk with someone who lives thousands of miles away is impossible. However, thanks to Bluetooth headsets and your phone, you can go for a peaceful walk with a friend while they are doing the same, allowing you to converse while you enjoy nature. Just be aware of the strange looks you may get while doing so!
Watch TV or a Movie with Friends and Family
There is nothing more social or classic when it comes to hanging out with family or friends than watching a television show or movie together. Of course, when you’re far away, this isn’t always possible, and the alternatives – watching a TV show at the same time while keeping a phone pressed to your ear – are clunky and awkward.
However, technology has solved much of this problem. There is a relatively new extension called Netflix Party, and it is used by over 10,000,000 people. With Netflix Party, you can watch the same show at the same time as your friends, family, or thousands of strangers. From there you can chat and enjoy watching the television at the same time as others. The feature is gradually being rolled out to other programs like Hulu, too.
Hanging out digitally is not the same as hanging out in person, of course. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t scratch that social itch that we are all born with. We should all consider ourselves very lucky. Digital technology has evolved significantly over the past few years, giving us all the opportunity to spend time together with family and friends that would have been unheard of as recently as a few years ago. If you can, take advantage of this opportunity and spend time with people you love. You’d be surprised at just how satisfying it can be.