With ever-changing safety protocols emerging as a response to COVID-19, people are trying to figure out how to adjust to social distancing. Social distancing is an important step we can all take to minimize our contact with other people in an effort to “flatten the curve,” or decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially to more vulnerable communities like cancer fighters, survivors and their families.

Imerman Angels is all about making connections, so it is important for us to share information about how our Support Seekers and Mentor Angels can stay connected in a time where face-to-face interactions are not recommended.

The good news is, there are plenty of other options beyond in-person meetings and phone calls that allow people to stay connected and continue to offer support at a time where we need it most.

Programs and applications like Google Hangouts and Skype are a great way to stay connected with your Mentee or Mentor Angel, or other friends and family you are not currently living with. Here are some tips on different applications to check out that will help you connect virtually!

An Easy-to-Use Option for Video Chatting

Google Hangouts is an application software developed by Google where you can organize a chat between two or more people. The host of the Google Hangout must have a Google account, but the participants do not have to have a Google account. In Google Hangouts, you can chat via text message or you can start a video chat.

Here’s how to start a text conversation on Google Hangouts on your desktop or laptop:

  1. On your computer, go to hangouts.google.com or open Hangouts in Gmail. If you have the Hangouts Chrome extension, Hangouts will open in a new window.
  2. At the top, click New conversation +
  3. Enter and select a name or email address.
  4. Type your message. You can also add emojis and photos.
  5. On your keyboard, press Enter.

Here’s how to start a video chat on Google Hangouts on your desktop or laptop:

  1. Open hangouts.google.com or on the sidebar in Gmail.
  2. Select a person from the Hangouts list or search for their name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name. You can also check multiple people to start a group video call. 
  3. Click Video call to start the chat.
  4. When you’re done, click End call.

Note that in order to video chat, you must allow access to your webcam, microphone and speakers. You might need to turn on permissions for your camera and microphone in your computer’s system settings. 

Click here for a video tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPZb3D0500I

Click here for the Google Hangouts help center where you can find helpful resources and answers to questions: https://support.google.com/hangouts/?hl=en#topic=6386410

A Great App for Free Texting, Even Overseas

The app WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is a free texting app that allows you to message people in other countries while bypassing the fees of an international phone plan. WhatsApp uses cellular data or WiFi to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls and share images. In addition to messaging friends or family overseas, WhatsApp works to connect with people within your own country as well!

WhatsApp is available on iPhone and Android devices. You can also use it on the web on your desktop or laptop.

Click here for a video on how to use WhatsApp features: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HIr_IpSBEQ&list=PLk3xjyeTggSacPdub–Q4grk7rxZMqMSu

Click here for the WhatsApp FAQ page: https://faq.whatsapp.com/

If You Want to Video Chat, But Don’t Have a Google Account

You might be familiar with Skype, a video chat app that has been around for nearly 20 years. Skype is a free service that offers video chat, instant messaging and phone calls. In order for Skype to be free to use, you and anyone you want to contact must have a Skype account. Fortunately, Skype accounts are free and easy to create!

Here’s how to create your free Skype account:

  1. Go to www.skype.com
  2. Click “Sign In” and find the prompt that says “New to Skype? Sign Up”. Click to create your Skype account
  3. Download the Skype application directly to your desktop, laptop or mobile device
  4. Sign in to your Skype account and you are ready to make calls!

Click here for a video tutorial on Skype’s features: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgcEfK6wCTo

Click here for the official Skype FAQ: https://support.skype.com/en/skype/all/

Utilize Your Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have direct messaging capabilities that allow for text conversation as well as the sharing of photos or videos.

Send a direct message through Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Instagram to start a conversation. Facebook Messenger even has capabilities for video chat! Click here for the official Facebook Messenger help center where you can find answers to frequently asked questions: https://www.facebook.com/help/messenger-app

Now, more than ever, it is important for us to have the support and human connection we need. Imerman Angels wants you to stay connected and feel connected in these uncertain times. Please keep the connections going and be in touch with ways we can support you and your loved ones!