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Move over Instagram. Step aside Facebook. There’s a new crew of #HotAndHappening social media platforms rapidly making their way into the hearts (and laptops and smartphones) of netizens around the world. If buzz on the digital street is anything go by (which it always is), the rise of TikTok, Houseparty, Zoom, Google Classroom and Disney+ has only just begun.

With around 250 million downloads (and counting) racked up between some of the top-performing apps over the last three months, it’s no surprise that their usage has err… gone viral… since the Coronavirus outbreak began. Given that we’re all safely locked inside our homes, exploring newer avenues of recreation and staying in touch, these five apps are among the trendiest ways to stay connected to loved ones and keep entertained while supporting public health efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

TikTok

Remember when Ke$ha woke up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy? Yup, that was Tik Tok in 2009. Here’s the kicker. Ten years later, everyone can wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy (and sound like him too) thanks to a different type of TikTok.

TikTok is the latest craze in video storytelling. The platform allows its 1.9 billion users to create 15-seconds clips of anything they like using the app’s special effects and features to jazz up their footage. From impersonations, dance challenges and pranks, to duets with ducks, cosplay and more, the app uses the unique formula of resharing content into different versions to make videos go viral, and bring people together. TikTok also allows creators to monetise their content; which is a fantastic incentive for any content creator hoping to make a few extra bucks in the digital space. The only limit to creating standout videos is the user’s imagination.

Houseparty

Since real-life house parties are out of the question right now, the Houseparty app is the next best thing. Available free on desktop, Android and iOS smartphones, it enables duos or groups to interact through video-enabled chats, virtual games and a range of fun quizzes. When a Houseparty contacts arrive online, a push notification is sent to that person’s contacts alerting them that they’re available to connect. “Housemates” can lock a room for private conversations, or leave these rooms open for friends, and the friends of friends, to join in on the fun, bringing more people together through shared mutual connections.

Zoom

An unlikely star of the quarantined world, Zoom combines cloud-based video conferencing, online meetings and group messaging into one easy-to-use application. While the majority of users are utilising it as a remote work-from-home tool to connect with colleagues and employees, it’s also become the perfect place to host everything from virtual cocktail hours to cabinet meetings and classroom learning. Available as a free or subscription service, Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects, and share or edit on one another’s screens. As the world evolves and remote working becomes part of the new normal in a post-COVID19 world, Zoom is likely to become a dominant player in the app space.

Google Classroom

Another platform passing with flying colours is Google Classroom, a free tool that allows teachers to create an online classroom in which to administer lessons and teach their students in real-time. The app has been downloaded 50 million times worldwide, as teachers and students embrace the technology to continue academic study during COVID-19. Within the Google Classroom, students and teachers may facilitate conversations around their syllabuses and submit assignments, with the tool also serving as a digital organiser where teachers can keep class materials and share them with students, inside and outside of school.

Disney+

Disney Plus, the new streaming service that includes Aladdin, The Lion King, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and all other franchises from the Disney vault, has racked up 50 million global subscribers; just five months since its release. Netflix, in comparison, needed 17 years to reach that number. Disney’s allure has always been its enduring message of happy endings, an ideal the whole world is working towards in terms of the Coronavirus, which explains why audiences are signing up for fairytales and feel-good content by the millions. As containment measures keep cinemas closed, the platform has commenced with screening new film releases on the platform, a move that could see the magic of Disney Plus grow even more spellbinding as the months go by.

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