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Friendship, FOMO and the Novel Coronavirus

Friends are people we all need at some point in our lives. Only our friends are allowed to poke a little fun our way.

Aashna Sharma | New Delhi | Updated :

Friendship Day celebrates the exquisite bond of friendship and encourages peace and unity in society. This year’s friendship Day will be celebrated on July 30.

Friendship Day celebrates our relationship with people, whom we love and cherish. The day is dedicated to acknowledging the value of friendship, trust, and loyalty.

This Friendship Day, our feeds will be fuelled with nostalgia and also with the fear of missing out (FOMO). Since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the whole world gradually went into lockdown as a measure to contain the crisis.

Due to the pandemic, social interactions have also been restricted and is fracturing the scope of socialising with friends and family. Everyone is missing having those existential conversations with fresh perspectives, so for this Friendship Day let’s find out how people are staying connected.

How Exactly Are We Keeping In Touch With Friends In The Age of Covid-19?

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular social media and gaming apps that are keeping us connected.

Zoom: Zoom is an ‘on-demand software’ that allows you to video call for free for a limited period. If you purchase a plan you can video call for an unlimited period. This app allows you to video call up to 100 participants!

Zoom parties have become a hit and the ‘new normal’ for celebrating birthdays. Since we can’t invite all our friends over, we can invite them to our zoom meetings. This year zoom alone had over 300 million participants signup. Many educational institutions and workplaces have chosen Zoom as their cyber hub for communication.

Since video conferencing has become the new normal, Indian based digital company Reliance introduces their own video conferencing service called JioMeets.

Houseparty: This video-chat app has risen in popularity since early March. Houseparty is fun and interactive as it allows you to jump into random conversations of friends that are on your friend list and also includes games like ‘Trivia’, ‘Quick Draw’, and ‘Heads Up’. The makers of this app have reported that in the last few months, Houseparty has seen over 50 million signups and that they feel obligated to make sure that the app doesn’t crash, as millions are depending on it!

Houseparty has become a favorite as it has more than just a video calling feature.

Netflix Party: Missing out on movie nights with friends? Netflix Party is a Chrome extension for watching movies and shows on Netflix remotely with friends! You can play, pause, and chat with your friends while watching Netflix. Netflix Party synchronizes the video playback, so you can binge-watch with friends even during the quarantine.

PubG, Call of Duty, and Ludo: Games that have the multiplayer feature have doubled in demand and popularity since the lockdown, as these games allow you to play with and against your friends.

Social distancing may have drained out all the scope for socialising at clubs or getting together for parties. But this does not mean that you can’t hang out with friends virtually.

“Since the lockdown, my friends and I are playing games like PubG, COD, and Ludo almost every day! It is a great way to pass time and helps us stay in touch as we can talk during the game,” tells Kavya Jajoo, a student from Bangalore.

“Sometimes in PubG, we create our custom room and play with 10 to 15 friends,” Kavya shares.

Since schools and colleges abruptly shut down because of the pandemic, separation anxiety from our friends is at its peak. The reality of coronavirus is that we are dealing with a severe lack of socializing. Therefore, video conferencing apps and gaming apps that allow you to chat during the game have gained more popularity.

 “For friendship day, all of our friends usually go clubbing or for a movie. Many clubs and restaurants offer deals as well, some clubs even throw theme parties to make the event more memorable,” said Saloni Ray, another student from Mumbai.

“Last year we celebrated the day by going for an “all-white theme” brunch party at the Olive, Mumbai, but due to the pandemic, this year our Friendship Day brunch will take place on a Zoom call! So we can help stop the spread of this deadly virus!” she added.

“We will play games like Piccolo and Kings on the Zoom call as it makes it more fun and entertaining!” Saloni explains.

It looks like our nation’s cyber-forward, creative youth have geared up for the upcoming Friendship Day without giving up on the celebration which is in a tight corner due to the pandemic. Young netizens have beat social distancing by connecting virtually.