Virtual parties: the tech that is bringing people together while keeping them apart

With a UK-wide lockdown in effect, people across the country are looking for ways to come together while being kept apart. Keeping in touch with friends and loved ones can be difficult at any time, but during the pandemic it can feel all but impossible. Luckily, the advent of new technologies and platforms enables not just virtual conversation, but full-on virtual parties.

Most of these solutions are set up through mobile apps (which can be downloaded from your smartphone app store) or your web browser. When you are setting these up, make sure you get help from friends or family members. Who knows, they may want to join in!

Ways to host a virtual party:

Video calls

Video calls and conferences have been with us for years now and many of us have become especially familiar with them as working from home has taken hold. In business, these tools are being used for hosting meetings and quick catch ups daily. But did you know you can also host social distancing friendly parties on them? By organising a big group call, you can suggest themes, have everyone dress up and grab a drink, and still celebrate in style from the comfort of your own homes.

Houseparty

One of the big front runners for best virtual party app is Houseparty. The Houseparty app originated in 2016 and was already a popular choice for bringing people together. Within the app, you can use face-to-face video as well as screen sharing to kick off conversation. Houseparty also includes a wide range of party games for everyone to join in the fun! From Heads Up to Trivia, Houseparty is a great way to host an entertaining virtual party.

Netflix party

The Netflix Party Chrome extension is an app that is already familiar to many in long distance relationships. This app allows you to get a group together to watch the latest Netflix series or favourite films hosted on the streaming platform. Netflix Party enables synchronised playback and includes a chat box so that everyone can share their thoughts on the film and stay in touch. Gone are the days of having to sync up with your fellow watchers to get the timing just right on your play button. This is a great app for having a group movie night right from the comfort of your own couch. 

DJ D-Nice

DJ D-Nice isn’t an app, an extension, or a program of any kind. Instead, D-Nice is an actual DJ who has been hosting live virtual parties on Instagram Live since the recent changes have taken place. DJ D-Nice is something of a heavyweight in the music industry and recently hosted a live set for 200 of his closest music industry friends. He continued nightly and was soon up to 100,000 ‘guests’, including former First Lady Michelle Obama. You can join in on the fun and fun and virtually rub elbows with celebrities by following him here on Instagram.

Roll20

For those less enticed by house parties and more interested in adventuring parties, the online tabletop gaming solution Roll20 is your best bet! Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), a popular game throughout nerd culture, originated in the 1980s and is now more popular than ever. Roll20 allows you to set up virtual maps, use video chat to communicate, and includes rules for over 500 games, not just D&D. And, if you haven’t tried tabletop gaming before, now is a great time to try something new like pretending you’re the kids from Stranger Things and getting a game started!

Virtual pubs

In a recent announcement, Scottish brewery BrewDog has announced that all 48 of its physical locations will be turned into a virtual pub where people can get together. On Friday 27th March, BrewDog will be hosting an evening of live music, pub quizzes, beer tastings, home brewing classes, and merchandise giveaways. If you are really missing the feeling of being out on a Friday night, virtual pubs like this one are the way to go.

While we are all doing our bit to keep each other safe by staying indoors and isolating, it’s important to continue reaching out and finding ways of coming together. Human beings are innately social creatures and to make it through this time successfully, we have all got to find ways of making the most of our situation. So get out there (metaphorically) and get partying!