Face it, you’re tired of using Zoom to chat with your friends because it reminds you of your 8:40 seminar and all those times you’ve been in an awkward breakout room. It’s time to switch it up a little. Here are some alternative platforms that you should try out instead!

  • Houseparty: Honestly, Houseparty isn’t much different from FaceTime, but it has a fun-looking interface and some cool mini-games that you can play with your friends, including Heads Up!, Trivia, and QuickDraw, etc.
  • Discord: Discord is kind of like Slack in that you can build your own “server” or join a pre-existing one, and each server consists of different channels. It has all the basic functions built in like video and voice chatting, and you can stream any content without ad-blockers, such as YouTube videos or pirated movies. One reason why it’s so popular among ~gamers~ is it’s great for multitasking. It relieves some of the pressure of Zoom because you feel like you can be doing other things besides talking (perfect for a study sesh).
  • Nooks: This platform is more suitable for larger events rather than a two- or three-person hangout. It’s pretty similar to Zoom, but it gives you a more organized overview of all the individual rooms and you can freely move between them whenever you’d like (Zoom’s new update does include a similar feature, though). 
  • Gather: It’s kind of like a retro video game where you have an avatar and can walk around a virtual town to talk to people (except they’re not NPCs, they’re people you invited). It has a unique feature where you can only talk to people within a certain proximity, and as you walk farther away, your audio and video cut off. Like Nooks, Gather is better for bonding in larger groups, because you can initiate conversations with people by “walking” up to them, just like you would in real life. 
  • VR Chat: Unlike what its name suggests, you do not actually NEED a VR headset in order to use this platform. A lot of people use VR Chat to talk to random strangers on the internet, but you can also create your own private world where you can invite your friends, and then you can basically chat with one another using any virtual avatar of your choosing. The only requirement is a Windows PC (sorry Mac users!)

Image via Creative Commons