We asked Balázs Bánszki, an enthusiastic Milestone student to find out the safe ways of having fun together in the quarantine. Read his article about the Houseparty app. 

Under this time of self isolation and social distancing (which should rather be called physical distancing), we are in desperate need for platforms to stay in touch with our friends and family. While there are the good old solutions of Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc., a new competitor has joined the market with a revolutionary idea.

Houseparty is an app which is specifically designed to substitute a friendly gathering: you can only join with a video camera on, but you are able to join any of your friends who are online without an invitation. Even The Guardian had an article about this new application: “Houseparty had gotten a lot of attention among the under-24 set when it first started back in 2016. Its CEO, Sima Sistani, touted it as the “next best thing to hanging out in real life”. It had been installed by 35 million users (40% of whom were outside the US.) In subsequent years, however, downloads of the app had declined – that is, until the pandemic. Downloads in March 2020 were the highest of the year.”

Could the Houseparty app be the solution for the loneliness caused by the quarantine? I downloaded it to find out and I was surprised by how well it actually worked. When I first downloaded it, and tried to figure out how it worked, I met with an incredibly friendly interface: the app even tells you fun facts when you’re not on a video call. However, when my friends started to join, and we had our first party, we discovered more features of the app, mainly, that if you do not lock the party, basically anyone can join, you only need to know one of the “guests”, thereby creating a true house party feeling. What is really outstanding when using this app for video chatting with friends, is that when the conversation gets boring, you can start to play games, like Ellen deGeneres’ Heads Up!, or a simpler version of Cards Against Humanity called Chips and Guac. The app has the feature of sending a notification to all of your friends when you’re online, so you don’t even have to plan ahead to talk with anyone, they can just join you any time if they want to. And let’s be honest, when the FOMO kicks in, nobody can resist a good Houseparty.