I just concluded a FaceTime chat with Roland, and it was good to talk to him again. He and I would have weekly lunches or coffee, often impromptu (very much counter to my “plan everything” orientation), and always worthwhile. Since moving to Toronto, it hasn’t exactly been hard keeping up with my Vancouver friends, but it hasn’t exactly been easy, either.
I work for the Boston-based Acquia, and almost all of my colleagues work out of that office. I spend about half of my day in Google Hangouts, and, much to my surprise, I don't hate it. It nice to "overhear" what they're working on, to have some watercooler talk, and to work on things live from time to time. In my previous job that customer meetings would be the only time I'd interact live with my co-workers while working remotely. That company did a good job of communicating with me, so I wonder how things are different now that the bandwidth to do video calls is better.
One set of friends and I have a bi-weekly calendar entry to get on video chat and talk about whatever. That helps reduce the social isolation I've felt in, yes, a city of 2.8 million people. (Joining the board of a volunteer organization has helped tremendously with that, too.) It was a magical coincidence that these friends of mine got along so well on our first day of university and that we've continued to keep in touch. The friend who organizes it insists on the video being turned on, and I'm grateful that he reminds me that a lot of the communication we have comes through seeing how each other is feeling. It has not escaped my attention that people are more and more chatting via video while walking on the street. With faster mobile Internet and ever-better handheld devices, I see this becoming more of a thing.
The 3-hour difference means I stay up late on whatever weeknight it's scheduled for. They have kids and I don't, so this was an accommodation to their schedule that I'm happy with.