Make Room for Messenger Rooms

Screenshot from the video about Messenger Rooms uploaded on Facebook website. 

Our lives have been changed by the coronavirus pandemic. People around the world have made adjustments as they are asked by their government leaders to follow health and safety protocol particularly stay at home and go out only to buy essential needs such as food and sanitary products.

Because of the health crisis, many have shifted to work from home arrangement. Bosses are giving  tasks to their subordinates online. Workers are submitting their reports through email and other means. There are also online classes conducted by schools. Students need to listen to their teachers who are speaking in front of a camera. Online jobs and online classes are not new anymore as some companies and schools are functioning virtually over the years. For those like me who used to work with people in a face- to- face setup, the turnaround of events is really life- changing. 

In the first week of the home quarantine in our country, my colleagues and I only conversed through group chats. Unlike in the school where we can do faculty meetings and have direct talks regarding with various agenda, we spent our time holding our phone, typing letters, and read information and suggestions. As an information communication and technology coordinator staff, I searched on the web on how to have virtual meeting. Zoom appeared on the search results and I explored it. I learned how to use for few minutes. I created a meeting and gave code to my fellows. However, only one of them successfully entered the meeting. I also tried setting a meeting on Google Meet. But, there was only one who attended it. When I asked them about the problem, most of my co- workers said that they need to download the mobile apps version as they had difficulty in using web browsers. The ending of our first attempt to conduct an online faculty meeting is we had our group video call on Messenger. The only problem we met on our meeting is the limited number of participants. The messaging app only allows small group discussion. 

Online communication become more prevalent than ever. This vacation time, it would be nice to visit friends and relatives and talk to them personally. But, novel coronavirus destroyed our plans that made us to only communicate with our friends on social media. It is nice to be with our circle of friends. However, messaging software have limits like the number of people who can participate in the discussion and the number of minutes you and your friends can talk. It seems like Facebook listens to us as it has a new way for us to stay connected wherever we are. 

Yesterday, the social media giant introduced Messenger Rooms. Based on the article posted on their official website, one can create a room good for 50 people with no time limit. You and your friends can talk your interests easily as the call can be started through Facebook or Messenger, and you can also invite others even they do not own a Facebook account. You can join a room chat using your phone or computer. If you will use Messenger, you can take advantage of AR effects, immersive 360 backgrounds and mood lighting. 

This new feature will be available in some countries this week and will have its expansion in the upcoming weeks. Aside from Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp will have new features. 

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