Communicating Online


Why communicate online ?

I guess that if you are reading this you are probably already on the internet or just maybe someone printed the post for you to read.

So we don’t talk face to face as much anymore. Should we talk face to face more? I guess I would say yes and a phone call wouldn’t be bad either.

So what about online communication?

There are some old fashioned ways of communicating that have an equivalent online method.
The dots and dashes of morse code have become “zeros” and “ones” that computer processors use today. The telegram now seems to closely relate to email or text message. The formal paper letter seems to be the Microsoft Word or PDF file attachment in an email. The voice conversation we once had via a wall phone can be done via mobile phone, Skype and facebook messenger just to mention a few.
The dream in the past was that we might (like the Jetsons see here)  talk via video whenever we like. The strange thing is that now that we can do it on our mobile phones we actually don’t do it much at all. We can also talk via mobile phones of course yet we seem to be choosing to write messages.

Statistics are showing that there are:

  •  14 billion phone calls made a day
  •  60 billion messages a day via facebook alone
  •  6 billion text messages
  •  269 billion emails

Other studies show that people spend five times as long sending text in messages than talking on the phone and 2013 showed the first decline in the use of voice over the phone in history.

Why do we choose text instead of talking?
Here are some possibilities and I don’t think they are all healthy reasons; just reasons:

  •  Many people have already chosen to send texts. So it is hard to use another way of communicating that others are not using.
  •  Teens would rather communicate digitally than by voice.
  •  We don’t “speak” as often but we are “talking” more now than we did before.
  •  Online messages are saved so we can look back on what we and others have said.
  •  We can send our messages to more than one person at once.
  •  When you communicate via text you are allowing the receiver to decide when to respond so there is a perception that it is more polite than ringing someone which demands there attention at that time.
  •  We have the opportunity to make our feelings broadly known by just posting a comment.

Should we make an effort to get into online communication?

There are a lot of things that can turn you off of online communication like:

  •  The security of messages.
  •  The technology.
  •  You may not be able to type well especially on those small screens that phones have.
  •  You want people to ring you instead.
  •  You have heard of all the bad things that happen online.
  •  You may even feel you are too old to learn something new like this.

I have seen a few public posts (messages to the public) saying “I wish my own Dad would text me, just learn how to!”
Posts like this seem to indicate that some people are crying out to be communicated with but they are struggling with voice calls as much as others are struggling with online communication.

I do belive it is worth the effort to communicate online.

Beware of the security issues such as spam messages, and messages trying to get you to provide identity information and money while posing as someone else.
Make sure you know who you are sending messages to. Do a bit of research about these things. Remember that ordinary postal mail is not totally secure anyway.
There is a fair bit to learn, but apply the logic you would in the normal world. To be safer, don’t give people important information online. If you think your bank, or anyone else is trying to contact you online, contact them in an old fashioned way and communicate the important things only that way. Once you have confirmed a contact online is who you think it is, still consider how many people and who you should be telling the day to day things in life. Remember that a few things should never be communicated to other people any time. These include PIN numbers and passwords.

An online library with discussion.

This story is not about the internet as a whole but if you want to get started you can read something of interest and decide whether you want to comment on it.
If I want to give you some thoughts about something that someone might gain benefit from I could write a blog or a post like the one you are reading now. Chances are that if I didn’t write this blog I wouldn’t actually get to tell you some thoughts at all. It’s a bit like a library with the option to discuss the subject. If you don’t find the info useful you don’t have to try to change the subject like you might do in a face to face conversation. You can just search for, or look at what you want to on line. If you want to write a comment about this blog or to someone else who commented we can approve the comment and it will be a conversation of sorts.  It’s not quite like a face to face conversation but people may benefit from the communication.

Email is a way of getting into online communication.
Young people do not generally use email for chatting at the same time as writing but other people you know, may love to hear from you and reply in due course. Think of it as writing letters online.

Facebook is free. It seems that nearly everybody who is online uses facebook. Facebook enables you to choose people to be your friends and so when you put you stories online your friends can see what you have written. Facebook will offer you suggestions regarding who they think you know. So for example if I put that I used to work at the Wondai widget factory, they will suggest others who also worked there.  They may suggest other who went to your school or live near you.  I must say that if you get on to facebook you will probably find a lot of news about your friends and family there that you will have missed up to now.

Check out the help section “?” and set up your privacy settings as soon as you can. Get someone to guide you through an intro to facebook. Join a community group that teaches you how to use it. Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted friend a question about it.

Decide “up front” how you want to use facebook. Particularly who you want to be friends with on facebook. Don’t accept a friend request that you don’t want to. You can learn about who has the right to see what on facebook by reading helpful article on the subject. You might search for “how do I know what people can see on facebook” “facebook security” or “facebook privacy” on your web browser. Note that when you post on facebook you can change who can see it in the settings on any post. Just be sure that the next time you post, you check what the default settings currently are and adjust them as needed.

When you add friends on facebook, be careful that they are who you think they are. Get a trusted person to send an invite to you when you first sign up to get you started. Remember that when you post on facebook to your friends that potentially any of your friends and sometimes other people can see the post (depending on your privacy settings).

To have more privacy you can send messages via facebook “messenger”. Messenger allows you to text, send photos, videos, voice talk live and video live to one specific person or the people who are in the particular messenger group you are using at the time. Note that video and voice use a lot more data than just sending text. It is very effective for talking to specific people. Remember that other people could be added to the group (by memebers of the group) later and will be able to read the posts.

Remember that facebook gets it’s income by advertising things on the facebook site. If you click an add you are likely to be going to another site which may not have the security controls that facebook has.

Other messaging online.

There are many online messaging applications that you may hear of such as twitter, snapchat, instagram etc but you may find that facebook gets you started. It is not as easy to use as it could be, however I believe it is worth the trouble.

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