Using the internet to stay in touch header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

As people get increasingly busy, and friends and family live ever further apart, it can be difficult to stay in touch through traditional methods.

Of course, nothing will ever replace the emotional significance of a birthday card or a hand-written letter, but sometimes you need something a little more convenient for dealing with the ins and outs of daily life.

The digital version of the letter is the email. As most people can type a lot faster than they can write with a pen or pencil, and they don’t have to wait for the postal service to deliver their missive, emails can significantly shorten the amount of time involved in written communication. Many people also prefer the option of being able to draft and edit their thoughts before hitting send, and the email format is well-suited to this way of communicating.

All you need to do is sign up for an account, which is almost certain to be free, and start firing off electronic messages to anyone you want to stay in touch with.

One of the biggest developments of the 20th century was the telephone becoming an essential item. Now, no matter how far away you are, you can easily speak to someone as if they were in the same room as you - for a price.

As anyone with friends or family abroad will tell you, phone bills can quickly add up and become a major expense, particularly for those who like to talk a lot. A new generation of internet video calling services are becoming increasingly popular with people looking to chat with their loved ones without worrying about the bill, as many are free to use.

Of course, you’ll need a computer with a built-in camera and microphone, or to attach an external set, but this feature is becoming increasingly standard for new computers, particularly laptops.

Once you have signed up for a video calling account and installed any necessary software, you’ll need to add contacts, normally by sending a request to their account, much as you would with a social media site. This is designed to make sure that you are not troubled by people who you do not want to contact you, which many view as an improvement on the free-for-all of the traditional telephone.

In short, the internet is a powerful tool when it comes to contacting friend and family, whether they live just down the road, or in another country entirely.