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Internet Tips

Using the Internet to Keep in Touch
By:Hannah Miller

If you have trouble keeping up with friends, neighbors, relatives, and others, you are probably like most Americans—seemingly too busy to connect with those we care about the most! Also, friends and acquaintances from years past are nearly impossible to keep up with, much less contact very frequently. It’s not too late to start connecting and communicating with people you love. Here are a few popular ways to communicate with friends and family via the Internet that have developed over the last decade:

**Email—a long-standing and still very popular way to communicate, email has been a prominent communication tool among friends and family, even businesses and colleagues. Email is fast. You can send a message to one or 50 people in less than a minute, for basically no cost. Compare that to sending a letter in the mail, paying postage (and for each recipient), and waiting several days for it to arrive! Getting an email account is easy. Most Internet services providers automatically assign a free email address to you, and there are many websites like Google and Yahoo that provide free email accounts to you as well.

Not only can you send text letters over email, you can upload photos, documents, and other attachments from your computer and send them to someone else. This is one of the best ways to quickly send recipes, family photos, invitations, fliers, and more to dozens of people at a time.

**Instant messaging—This service is a way to quickly chat with friends and family over the Internet. You can type messages to one another, have messages forwarded to your cellphone, set up an “away message” to tell people what you are doing—all for free. All you need is Internet access. You can download the messenger program to your computer, or sometimes use a web-based messenger. Most messenger services are associated with an email address. MSN, Yahoo, and AOL are three of the most popular instant messaging providers.

**Blogs—This is a type of online journal. It’s great for writing about what’s going on in your life, your thoughts and ideas, or post ideas or events you’d like to share with others. You can post pictures, edit the layout, and make a unique and personalized webpage. Friends, family, and acquaintances can visit your blog to catch up on your life and events. You can also see blogs from your friends and family to keep up with them! Blogger, Wordpress, and Livejournal are three websites that host free blogs.

**Social networking—This has by far become one of the most popular ways to keep in touch with others. Basically, it’s a combination of all or most of the things mentioned above. First, you create an account and personalize your profile with some of your basic information, likes, and status. Then you can find the profiles of friends, family, and even long-lost acquaintances! You can often add pictures, music, and links to make a great representation of you at a glance for all your friends to view and enjoy.

You can send messages to one another, or if you are both on the website at the same time, chat right from the page in real time. You can post messages on each other’s profile, or a private message to their inbox. There is also typically a place to post blog-type entries if you want to share a longer written piece, or you can just jot down a quick note on your profile to briefly tell people what’s currently on your mind.

Social networking is popular, but very fast-paced, and can get a little overwhelming at first. But if you give it some time you’ll eventually know your way around. Once you start searching for family and friends’ profiles, you’ll be surprised how many you can find. This is one of the best ways to look up a long-lost friend. Facebook is the most popular social networking site, and MySpace is still quite popular, so those are good places to start. Twitter is a form of social networking that is for posting shorter entries and clips—in case you’re really in a hurry!

Connecting with others is a breeze when you have Internet Access—it’s fun too!
Written by Hannah Miller, Director of Online Marketing and Customer Service Rep, www.Copper.net. Copper.net is a nationwide Internet Services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online. Check out my blog for this and more great articles! http://www.copper.net/wire

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