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The New Facetime

By: Serena Mao

Facetime has taken on a new life during coronavirus: suddenly, without the ability to see our friends or interact with people in person, it seems that Facetime is the best it gets. Apart from our typical friend-to-friend calls, though, the video chatting app has taken on a new life.

Some seniors have begun to experience the full benefits of using the app. Quite a few have discovered that they are contacting their family and catching up much more frequently than they did before the pandemic, with the younger millennials and their children stuck at home with their devices as well. Many senior homes have begun distributing iPads and other tablets in order for their clients to contact their family. For a large majority, the video calls that are now possible are highly therapeutic. 

Even the fashion industry has shifted online. Indeed, Bella Hadid modeled her new fashion line through photos taken off Facetime with her photographer. She posed in a couple different outfits at home with accessories such as her bags, all under the guidance of a video conference. Demi Lovato took part in a similar shoot, using FaceTime to achieve photos that looked raw and candid in contrast to the seemingly-perfect, high definition photos we typically expect from a photoshoot.

A Tokyo aquarium has also taken advantage of the new medium. Their garden eels have started to hide from the aquarium staff by burrowing themselves in the sand when they walk by. Unfortunately, this means it is difficult for the staff members to check on the eels on a daily basis. As a result, the aquarium decided to place a few tablets surrounding the tank, and then call for volunteers to Facetime the eels. Callers are encouraged to say hi and wave, but not make loud noises that might overly scare the eels. In this way, the eels can become used to human presence again in a time where there aren’t any physical visitors.

Social distancing has worked to increase the versatility of products we might typically see as restricted to a very limited role. As the pandemic worsens and stay-at-home orders continue, we’re likely to see apps such as Facetime playing more and more creative roles in our lives.



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