By Sophie Deering, Freelancer writer and Content marketer
With an international lockdown confining many of us to the four walls of our homes, digital connectivity has never been more important. From remote working to staying in touch with our friends and families, digital apps have been helping us adjust to the “new normal” as best as possible. In fact, many brand new apps have found their feet during this time.
New research by Carphone Warehouse explored which apps have been the most popular during the lockdown, by monitoring mentions on social media. And it turns out these are the eight apps that have shaped lockdown thus far:
- Microsoft Teams
Racking up 117,000 mentions on Twitter, Microsoft Teams comes in first place. Commonly used by companies adapting to a new remote way of working, Teams is a popular communication tool. Its functionalities branch far beyond simple instant messaging, however, with options to video call privately or in groups, share your screen and present to others, and store shared files. Interestingly, mentions of Teams on Twitter spiked between 8-9pm on Thursday evenings during lockdown, suggesting it could also have been used to show support for the NHS during the weekly clap in the UK.
Sitting in a similar category to Microsoft Teams, Zoom is much more focused on the video side of things. Relatively unknown before lockdown, the app has received 43,000 mentions on Twitter during the quarantine. In fact, it’s now on most people’s radar for one reason or another, whether it’s for business meetings, virtual events, live streamed fitness classes, or even a virtual family quiz or get together. Zoom saw consistent spikes in mentions on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10am, which is possibly peak meeting time.
The video calling app Houseparty was a huge hit when lockdown first began, as it presented a way of connecting with friends and family via a “virtual house party” setting. Unlike other video calling apps, Houseparty is all about the social aspect and even boasts integrated games to play during calls.
Houseparty has received 19,000 mentions during lockdown, with spikes in mentions on Wednesdays at 10pm, suggesting Wednesdays could be the new Fridays. “Delete Houseparty” also trended on Twitter, when word spread that the app could be used by hackers, though this rumour was later debunked.
The arrival of Disney+ couldn’t have come at a better time for many Disney-loving Brits. As Disney’s answer to Netflix, the platform boasts endless Disney content on demand. Patterns in Twitter mentions suggest Brits love to relive their childhood memories on Fridays from 8pm to 10pm.
With more time indoors, there’s never been a better opportunity to learn a new language. Duolingo is one of the most popular language apps, promising to help users master a new tongue in as little as weeks. It’s also a handy way to keep kids occupied and stimulated while they’re out of school, with fun exercises and interactive learning techniques.
Enduring a pandemic can be a mentally challenging experience, with concerns about health, finances and mental wellbeing impacting many of us. To combat this stressful time, many people have been turning to Headspace – a mental health and mediation app that offers tools and resources to support wellbeing. On Twitter, “weathering the storm” trended in relation to the app, indicating its support for emotional struggles through lockdown.
Joining Headspace in the wellness sphere, Calm is a popular meditation and relaxation app, dedicated to boosting mental wellbeing. The app features material designed to help people focus, relax and sleep. In fact, “sleep story” trended on Twitter in connection with the app, suggesting it’s helping people get a good night’s sleep despite the stresses of lockdown.
One positive to come from the lockdown is that it’s united communities. After all, we’re all in it together. This has encouraged many people to reach out to their more vulnerable neighbours to offer a helping hand, such as picking up groceries or walking the dog. Nextdoor is an app that has been designed to connect people with those around them, to offer and find services, share local information, organise events and sell belongings.
In today’s digital landscape, there is a whole host of apps beyond this list that you can use to stay entertained, healthy and connected during this time at home. What’s more, there are new apps popping up left, right and centre, so it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for the latest updates.