Once upon a time (like three weeks ago), we had social lives that existed outside the confines of our smartphones. We dined somewhere other than our living room couches, sipped $15 tequila sodas at crowded neighborhood bars, and could cancel plans for the thrill of it rather than a government mandate requiring it.
But just because we're responsible humans and practicing good social distancing (drinking at home) doesn't mean we can't socialize. We just can't do it IRL. Thankfully, there are all sorts of video call apps to help us bridge the gap while we all remain in relative isolation. And while each platform has its own unique features, Houseparty has emerged as a favorite among the FaceTimes and Zooms of the digital space.
The live video chatting app allows you to host several "parties" at once (with eight guests to each room), so you can juggle your busy virtual happy hour schedule. Check in with your coworkers for a quick glass of wine before toggling over to your college friends for shots.
Here's everything you need to know to use and make the most of Houseparty:
Ready to start a group call?
Once you've downloaded the app and filled in the signup details, you can start partying. To begin a Houseparty group call, just click the plus icon located in the top right corner and search your contacts. Or if you're looking to join a preexisting party, you can swipe up on the screen and jump in your active group chats your friends have already started.
How many people can you chat with at once?
Each room allows up to eight people per call, but one of the cool perks of Houseparty is the ability to switch between groups. Hop on with your family for a virtual game night, jump over to your besties happy hour, and then back again.
Can you lock a Houseparty room so others can't join?
Yep! Just hit the padlock at the bottom of the screen or update your settings to automatically lock your chats. Though people can still request to join, you'll have the ability to ignore those you don't want in.
How do you alert someone that you're "in the house?"
Unless you adjust your privacy settings, the app will actually alert your friends when you available to Houseparty, aka are "in the house." But if you want to give them an added nudge, you can click the wave icon and send a notification their way.