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Staying connected using Zoom and social media

In these unsettling times of social distancing and self-isolation it's easy to feel less connected with the individuals and communities who are important in our lives. We completely understand if groups don’t feel able to carry on at this time. However, those that would like to continue to provide support will be doing their best to keep in touch with their volunteers, members and service users online or by telephone

o Zoom video conferencing

You may have taken part in one of our online training sessions or forums using a video conferencing tool called Zoom. It’s an application (similar to FaceTime or Skype) which allows you to participate via your PC, tablet or mobile phone. When you join an online session, you can see and interact with the other participants on your screen. You can choose to use your device’s camera or to just be a voice in the discussion. You can also simply join the meeting by phone, including from a landline.

There is a free version of Zoom available, which could be a great tool for replacing in-person Coordinating Team meetings, or for providing support to your local MS community. Meetings of more than two people are capped at 40 minutes in the free version, but you should be able to immediately repeat the meeting to enjoy a further 40 minutes.

The paid version (which groups are welcome to sign up for) costs £11.99 a month, but has no time restrictions. The subscription can be cancelled at any time and you can sign up for it here.

Whether you are using a free or paid version of Zoom, security is important. Our 'Guide for hosts' below contains information (see page 6) on how you can turn on features to protect your meetings.

If you’d like to try Zoom out, here are some useful guides:

  1. Guide for participants. What equipment you'll need and how to join a meeting.
  2. Guide for hosts. How to set up and run a meeting.

o Social media

If you are already using social media to inform and support, or are thinking about establishing an online presence for your group as a way of reaching out, the following guides may be helpful:

  1. Information on social media
  2. Guide to using social media
  3. Free tutorials on how to set up social media accounts