As we move into the new decade, it’s amazing to think back to how online technology has transformed our communication over the past 10 years. If you’re a bit unsure of what’s what in the ever changing ‘inter-web’ world, read on and gain some top tips for keeping in touch with loved ones.

Social Networking

With over 300 million members worldwide, Facebook dominates the social networking scene. Facebook is a free website which lets you share photos and catch up with all the latest news from friends, relatives and old workmates, some of whom you may have lost touch with over the years.

Bebo is the popular website choice for teenagers. It provides a fun environment so they can express themselves and chat with their friends.

MySpace is another well-liked site with teens because it is often used by pop and rock bands as an online Fan Club, where teen fans can view music video clips and catch up with concert tour dates.

Twitter is another social networking website. Twitter is a bit like text messaging, whereby users can ‘Tweet’ their latest happenings or thoughts with a quick message (limited to roughly two sentences of text), to anybody who is interested in following the particular individual for updates. Twitter could be described as a mini diary or blog, where you can let your followers know what’s on your mind, but in general these thoughts do not get a response or reply.

Photo Albums

Like Facebook, dedicated photo websites let you create online photo albums and share them with friends and family. Popular websites are Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Flickr.  These websites are very safe, allowing you to choose whether you want to let certain people view your pictures, or make them available to all members and the general public.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging (IM) is a fast and easy way of having a conversational ‘chat’. The difference between IM and email is that there is less time spent waiting for a response, hence the term instant. You can see when your contacts are online and you’re not restricted to two-person conversations either. The most popular websites are Microsoft Live Messenger and Google Talk.


YouTube is a video sharing website which allows you to upload your videos so you can show your friends, family and the world what you’ve been up to. Videos can be anything from a birthday party celebrations to your child’s first walk.


If you want to use the ‘old fashioned’ talking method when keeping in touch with overseas friends and family, try using Skype. Skype is an internet service for long-distance calls that needn’t cost you anything. Once you’ve downloaded the programme, you can use it to call phones too, but it works best when it’s a computer-to-computer connection (it’s free and the quality is better; calling a phone from your computer costs around 35 cents a minute and the quality can be patchy). Best of all, if you and the person you are calling have Web cams, you can chat via video face to face!

50+ Community

If you are over 50 you might find that your children have grown up and left the nest, you may be recently retired and have sudden free time on your hands or you might find you feel out of touch with our ever changing world. Grownups.co.nz is NZ’s best lifestyle website dedicated to the 50+ community.  This website is completely free to visit and browse. You can meet like-minded people and participate in lively discussion groups, which include live chat where the conversation flows easily. Grownups can also help you find friends who you may have lost contact with over the years, plus you can add your own articles of interest, recipes and pictures for fellow members to read and view.

No looking back

So there you have it, a brief run down of how to stay in touch via the world wide web. It may all seem a little overwhelming to start with at first, but once you get used to it you will realise how fun it is to stay in touch with all the gossip, and there will be no looking back.

Article Brought to You By GrownUps.co.nz  Grownups

GrownUps.co.nz is NZ’s best lifestyle website dedicated to the 50+ community.  This website is completely free to visit and browse over 4000 articles, meet like-minded people, play daily games, participate in lively discussion groups & live chat.  Whilst you’re there why not take advantage of the special offers available only to GrownUps members and a raft of great competitions. Join over 100,000 monthly visitors and 36,000 members throughout New Zealand. Visit GrownUps.co.nz - it’s where GrownUps click!

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