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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Online communication: Here’s how Aggies are staying in touch during the pandemic

A look into the different online platforms that students are using to keep in contact

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online platforms have largely taken the place of in-person communication as individuals maintaining social distancing are unable to see their friends and family in person. Whether it is to catch up with friends or attend a lecture, online communication has maintained connections during these trying times.  

FaceTime, a video-chatting application available on Apple products, mimics the face-to-face communication that is no longer possible during quarantine. Alex Cohen, a first-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, sees great value in Facetime and its ability to maintain relationships in a real and personal way. 

“I really just prefer FaceTime over texting,” Cohen said. “I’ve always had this mantra about those types of things just because it’s more personal and you can actually sense how someone is, how they’re actually feeling and actually connect with them in a real way. You can always send a quick, five-second text, but calling somebody and checking up on them or FaceTiming them, I feel like that’s way more personal and much necessary in this day and age.”

For others, a simple text proves to be an important outlet of communication. Not only can texting be used as a way to catch up, but iMessage also provides games through GamePigeon like Cup Pong and 8 Ball that foster interaction from miles apart. 

Kai Uchio, a first-year environmental science and management major, uses text messages to quickly check in on his friends from Davis while he quarantines at home.

“Obviously, I’d rather see the people in real life, but I always like texting them just to catch up on small things,” Uchio said. “I definitely think the communication helps and it’s nice to still be in communication with my friends, especially the ones that aren’t here like all of my Davis friends.”

Some students have found even more creative ways to stay in touch. Aaron Ehsanipour, a third-year psychology major, uses Xbox One to virtually stay in touch with friends while having fun. 

Zoom, another video-chatting platform, has become the public’s new classroom and route of communication between students and teachers. Due to social distancing, professors are now holding live lectures and discussions on Zoom. On this platform, students can video chat and use the chat box to send messages. Although Zoom has become the backbone of online education, most students don’t use it outside of an academic setting. 

Houseparty, yet another video-chatting platform, has made a comeback during these times. Houseparty allows multiple people to chat in different rooms and even allows users to play games. There has been a 1072% increase in downloads, according to a Business Insider article. In an update on April 2, the Houseparty team shared their happiness in being a platform that can bring people together during a tough time: “We’re humbled to bring people together during this unprecedented time for everyone around the world. As we physically distance ourselves for the common good, online human connections are more important than ever before.”

Whether it is Facetime or Xbox One, the world has managed to communicate and keep relationships intact despite great distances. Regardless of what platform is used, students like Ehsanipour emphasize how important it is to stay connected with the people in their lives. 

“Maintaining these connections are important because we all have to be together during this unprecedented time,” Ehsanipour said. “Some days I feel down and others my friends feel down, but when we call each other and let each other know that we are all feeling the same anxiety then it calms everyone down.” 

Written by: Nora Farahdel — features@theaggie.org


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