My Web Maestro

Meeting People & Doing Business Virtually

Posted on by Nathan Lyle

With self imposed quarantine and social distancing changing our national routine almost overnight, being able to connect with each other over the Internet is more important than ever. If you haven’t already found a good tool you can use to connect remotely, here’s a short list of some popular options that include free plans. 

Blizz (TeamViewer)

https://www.blizz.com/en/pricing

Their free plan allows 5 participants, with 1 organizer. They have tools for meetings, managing contacts, scheduling, chat and more. 

ezTalks

https://www.eztalks.com/pricing

Web and video conferencing. Free version allows you to host up to 100 participants, with a 40 minute limit on group meetings. 

Skype

https://www.skype.com/en/get-skype/

Can be installed on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as on your desktop, laptop, or phone. Can be a little complicated to get set up if you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s account system, but is pretty easy to use once you have it going. Can video or audio chat with individuals or create groups.

Google Hangout

https://hangouts.google.com

Requires a Google account, but provides video, phone, or messaging. Can be used from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

zoom

https://zoom.us/pricing

Free plan allows up to 100 participants, unlimited 1 to 1 meetings, limited to 40 minutes on group meetings. Includes video and web conferencing and group collaboration tools.

Virtually Business as Usual

I’m admittedly biased, but for decades I’ve had the opinion that the Internet can be used far more extensively than we typically have. One of the first things that drew me to building websites (back in the late 1990’s) was the challenge of using the relatively new thing that was the Internet to work more efficiently. 

One of my first big projects was the creation of an online database of albums for a public radio station I worked at. At the time, being able to quickly search and find music as fast as a web-based setup allowed us to do was a night and day difference (especially when you had 60 seconds until you had to have something playing because you’d procrastinated prior to the show.) 

As of the end of March, 2020, many people are struggling as businesses shut down and everyone shuts themselves into their homes. I remain hopeful that with some creativity, many businesses can pivot to different forms of their normal activity, that can thrive by making use of the web. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. If you find yourself feeling hopeless, I encourage you to be stubborn and creative. This can be a tall order when fear is hiding behind every corner, but I firmly believe that our society as a whole has it in us to not only get through this intense moment… but to learn new skills along the way and get to an even better place. 

And of course, if there’s anything web related we might be able to help with – get in touch! Even if it’s just to bounce some ideas off of someone with a background in the online. 

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About Nathan Lyle

Nathan is a father of four, an amateur musician, and an aspiring photographer. He started programming in 4th grade on an Apple II+ and many years later spent much of his college years freelancing website design for college departments. Nathan is a veteran of the Browser Wars, and will gladly talk at length about the changes he has seen in Web technology if you accidentally ask him.

Visit Nathan's Website or View all posts by Nathan Lyle


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