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Virtual coffee klatsches are happening!

5 ways to socialize online

Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on March 19, 2020 at 6:07 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.

Last night, OnMilwaukee hosted a virtual Happy Hour via Facebook Live and immediately decided to make it a weekly thing – Thursdays at 5 p.m. The group toasted, compared beverages and chatted for over an hour about coronavirus but also not about coronavirus. It was really nice.

Hanging out online with friends certainly doesn't take the place of real human contact, but it helps to see the faces and hear the voices of our favorite people. And it's easy to do – even if you've never tried before.

Happy hours, coffee dates, game nights, group movie watching, dinner parties and social "outings" are still available to us – just not how we're accustomed to doing so. Why not give it a whirl?

You'll want to pick the right spot in your home, somewhere without too much light behind you (otherwise you'll be backlit) and so your device is propped at the right height so your hands are free to drink a libation, deliver a virtual high five, break out into spontaneous jazz hands, etc.

Here are 5 ways to interact with friends and family online:

FaceTime / Group FaceTime. For people with Apple devices, they can FaceTime which offers one-to-one video call or Group FaceTime with up to 32 people. Here are instructions for how to set up and join FaceTime and Group FaceTime calls.

Google Duo. If anyone in your social group doesn't have an Apple device, Google Duo is an Android version of FaceTime. The app is free to download and allows 2-8 people to join the call.

Here are instructions for how to set up / join Google Duo.

Google Hangouts. Anyone with Gmail can use Hangouts for free – just go to hangouts.google.com. Invite people via their Gmail addresses or by emailing them the link. Set it up as either a voice or video hangout. Video Hangouts allow up to 25 people to join; voice-only can accommodate up to 150 people.

To share your screen, find the three vertical dots on the upper-right hand side of the screen and click "Share screen." You may have to adjust your preferences.

Zoom. Zoom provides free, unlimited one-on-one video meetings or 40-minute sessions for three or more people with their free plan. There is also an option for $14.99 a month that allows video calls for up to 100 participants and 24 hours long.

Download the Zoom application at zoom.us from your desktop and click "Launch meeting." When everyone has joined, be sure to click the"share screen" button.

Netflix watch parties. The current sitch is depressing enough without people having to Netflix and chill alone. Luckily, the new Netflix Party allows friends to watch movies together from their private locations and share their reactions through a chat room.

To participate, you need a Google Chrome browser, an extension and a Netflix account. Here are instructions for how to set it up. You can also start a Watch Party on Facebook.

Jackbox. Perfect for a virtual game night, Jackbox games are available for 1-8 players on a wide variety of digital platforms that you can purchase and download anywhere from an Xbox One to an Apple TV. To access, each player needs a phone or other web-enabled device to use as their controller. Go here for the set-up instructions.

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