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Free Tech Tools Have Kept Communities Connected During Coronavirus

As social distancing and remote work becomes the new normal, communities are using technology to get and stay organized

People are using technology to help track and curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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More Americans are self-quarantining amid the coronavirus pandemic as some states and municipalities enact shelter-in-place orders to require social distancing. Technology and social media are becoming more vital as the coronavirus outbreak is now seen across each of the 50 states.

President Donald Trump said that the country and our way of life may be impacted until July or August. Companies and individuals are relying on technology more to get through these uncertain times.

Here’s some of the free tools communities and workers are using to stay connected.

Nextdoor

The hyperlocal social media platform serves as an online watering hole to connect neighbors as a “hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services,” according to the Nextdoor website. Community members are posting information to connect others. Nextdoor has added help maps and groups to specifically assist people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook Groups

News organizations and local communities are using Facebook Groups to keep friends and neighbors up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and how its impacting people in like-minded networks. Here's two groups keeping citizens informed in Chicago and New York: Coronavirus in Illinois News: Latest From NBC 5 and LIVE UPDATE Coronavirus covid-19 NYC New York CITY Quarantine Lockdown.

WhatsApp

Need to connect with loved ones or business associates abroad? WhatsApp is a popular free messaging app and has been a go-to app for family members to connect internationally. WhatsApp Groups are commonly used to share information. In one step, multiple users can receive important messages and updates. A cell phone is needed to sign up and to send or receive messages. Here’s instructions on how to create a WhatsApp Group.

Google Sheets and Docs

Google Sheets and Docs, short for documents, are useful for creating a to-do list, and are easily sharable making helpful notes and insights available via email.

Videoconferencing

Workers around the world are taking their meetings virtual to keep business afloat. Zoom and Cisco WebEx are among the video conference platforms helping teams stay connected online. Many platforms are offering free services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Slack

The instant messaging platform has helped work and organizational teams get organized. Slack boasts it is “the smart alternative to email.” There are free plans with limited features.

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