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Who knew that virtual happy hours or dinner parties would become the latest trend? But as people are confined to base camp we have had to find inventive ways to keep social and motivation to still look after ourselves.

If the weekend in Abu Dhabi conjures up images of after work drinks, intimate dinners and post brunch dance offs we might need to recalculate our expectations for a little while. No need to lock ourselves away just yet, with technology our new BFF, we have found with video chatting apps the motivation to ditch our comfy sport legging, keep ourselves entertained with pales and not vent about our coronavirus boredom.

Let’s accept and welcome this temporary era of hosting a self-isolate party or a digital dinner from home to keep the social bond with our friends and family across the world. To do so, there are two apps available in the UAE for virtual social gatherings during the Covid-19 time.

Zoom vs Houseparty

Most of us, workers and or parents, have already downloaded Zoom (widely used by remote workers and schools teachers in Abu Dhabi for live sessions with their pupils), a cloud-based video networking software app onto their phone.

The Zoom app allows for a 40 minute ‘meeting’ which should be enough time to catch up on the news of the week. For a longer session, one of your party should have availed of Zoom Pro which for a small fee will allow you to set the meeting duration for 24 hours. Zoom is certainly optimised for computer user rather than phone.

Zoom Cloud Meetings, www.zoom.us


Houseparty app, also a service that allows users to chat with their friend groups via live video, has more casual and fun approach than Zoom and allows users to hang out with up to eight of their friends at any time. There is a number of games you can play with your contacts including Head’s Up, Quick Draw and a quiz, all while video chatting. Oh, and beware, if you don’t virtually ‘lock’ your room, any of your other friends can totally crash your party.

Houseparty, www.houseparty.com



Please note that according to digital experts, Houseparty application collects a worrying amount of personal information and Zoom app is thought to send data to Facebook even if a user doesn’t have an account on it.


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