Keeping in touch online

By | June 1, 2015
This content is 9 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind. Thank you.

Monday mornings – I don’t normally struggle with them, but this time we had a really hectic weekend. So after my third cup of tea I found myself staring at the chocolate biscuits… and I’ve only just had breakfast.

You see, sometimes when I sit down to write these newsletters I already know exactly what i want to say. Sometimes I’ve even jotted down notes. And sometimes I have a list… and find I can’t fit it all in!

But this time I was finding it hard to keep my mind on it. Partly because I was tired. But mainly because my sister (who lives in Australia) is over visiting. I haven’t seen her in person for 11 years, so as you can imagine, I’m pretty excited!

In fact, in a funny way, she was actually partly behind me writing my first PC book, though I don’t think she knows it. I’d been making lots of notes for Mum and Dad about how to use the computer to email her, send photos and so on… and later on how to use Skype to do video calls.

And the notes I scribbled for them about how to use their computer for this and other things made me think “I could turn this into a book”.

Anyway, I know a lot of people have family abroad – or just a distance away in this country. So I thought I’d do a round-up of some of the things on the computer that I find useful for keeping in touch.

The most obvious one – it’s great to be able to send a message and it’s there (usually) almost instantly. Plus, you can attach photos for the other person to see or send an email to lots of people to tell them all some good news.

The very first time I told people about Skype, the main point was to be able to make free phone calls to people in other countries. I think it was possible in theory to make a video call, but it wouldn’t be fast enough to work very well. Nowadays most people have faster internet connections (at least most of the time…) and it can work really well.
I think it’s amazing – you can sit chatting to someone on the other side of the world and actually see them. What’s more, if you have a tablet, you can sit back in your comfy chair while you do it… or walk around the house to show them your new kitchen or whatever.
Or if you have a device you can plug into the TV, you can see the other person on the big screen.

I haven’t actually used this so much recently, but it’s a handy way to share photos with people. You can share photos on Facebook (see below) but Flickr is better in some ways – it’s much easier for people to look at the photos later on… and if you use Facebook they might struggle to even see the photos unless they look at them soon after you put them up. With flickr it’s easy to look back at all the photos you’ve put up.

There are lots of different ways you can use Facebook… and some people seem to be so reliant on it I’m beginning to wonder if they’ll use it to contact people they’re sat next to anyway…
But the reason I like it is that it makes it easy for a family to keep in touch – sharing photos or snippets of information with their own group.
It’s a little tricky to explain – you could just always send an email to everyone in your family.
It means you can have your own group of friends (including family) and when you share something, they get to see it.
But then, in our case, when I share something, it goes to my Mum and Dad, my sister and so on… and some of my friends. But if my sister shares something, I’d see it, but it doesn’t (normally) get shown to all my friends. So it’s a bit more complicated than just having a single group of people that you email everything to.
And it’s convenient for little snippets, with or without photos or short video clips. So you can share a snippet like “Alastair now on his fourth serving of pie – I think he likes it” which you probably wouldn’t bother to email. Then your friends can comment on it, if they like – maybe Dad would say “I hope he got four servings of the mash as well – don’t want you starving him”

Phew – it’s ended up quite a long issue. But it’s worth knowing what you can do with these different options – it’s only once you know about them that you can decide “That sounds useful” and give it a try!

9 thoughts on “Keeping in touch online

  1. Deanna

    Hi, when my youngest G/Daughter was born early-6 yrs ago, her Dad was in his truck in Holland. Mum sent a photo from her phone to him, he sent it to me and I sent it to Australia and Spain within minutes !!!! No longer do we need to take a roll of film, get it developed and Get prints, then post. !!!!! I bet truprint etc. are feeling the loss of my business.I can crop, copy etc for free!! Last OZ holiday-I used up 3 films-cost me over £20.00 to develop!!!! Took 1,000 on other camera.
    Also, have had a message from M/Soft (?) offering W10 is it genuine.? Enjoy your Choc Biscuits.

    1. Tim Post author

      Hello – yes, it’s genuine – watch out for Monday’s newsletter for more info!


    Hi Tim,
    Very interested in what you say about keeping in touch.
    I have moved to France and am even retired, but still run a small business helping UK people file their Tax Returns. In view of this, and with many relatives and friends that we need to talk with (including my own Sister in Tasmania), being able to see them as I talk with them is a real bonus.
    We use “FACETIME” on Apple, which if anything is more user-friendly than Skype. OR, is it me?
    Thanks anyway!

    1. Tim Post author

      Yes, I think quite a few people find Facetime a bit simpler – the disadvantage is that it only works on Apple devices, but if everyone you need to contact has one, that’s great!

  3. Chris Hall

    I read that you are promoting a book on tablets. Not a million years ago I purchased a number of help books from you including “Get more out of your Tablet”,” Android tablet One step at a time” and “A tablet Assortment”. How is your new book different
    Also your Inner Circle is a victim of its own success. If you don’t use your PC every day trying to find your query and answer is so time consuming and often fruitlexx?

    1. Tim Post author

      The new book is a different approach from the ones you mention – they’re about how to use the tablets, whereas the new on is what to do if something goes wrong, rather than how to do the things you want to do. Some people find they want one, some want the other and some have wanted both – depends on what you need!
      On the Inner Circle, you should get an email when there’s a reply to your question (if you don’t, then have a look in your spam/junk folder in case your computer thinks it’s a dodgy email for some reason). If you click the link in that, it’ll take you straight to the answer, saving you the effort hunting through all the question!
      I know some people spot a question someone else has asked and want to see the answer when it comes up – of course you won’t get an email for that but you can use the search box on the Inner Circle page – you can type a few words from the question or even type the name of the person who asked the question – it’ll show you the questions and answers it finds with those words in.
      Hope that helps!

  4. Bryan Routledge

    Good morning, Tim
    Thank you for your most explicit message on the topic of ‘keeping in touch’ – I have always found advices from you and the team on varied subjects most helpful. This subject is of much interest to me as we have family and friends in Canada and the USA, also a cousin and his wife who are spending a year on a tour of Australia and sending me regular reports and photos as they progress.
    Some nine years have passed since I acquired my first computer and was recommended to consult your business for learning the fundamental aspects
    of the relevant technology. Your publications could not have served me better and I look forward to continuation of this pleasing situation.
    My thanks and best wishes to you all.
    Bryan Routledge

    1. Tim Post author

      Thanks for the kinds comments -it’s always nice to hear!
      In fact you must be amongst our first customers – I started the business up about ten years ago (we’re just coming up tot he anniversary of the first book going on sale next month)!

  5. fred richardson

    hi Tim, thanks for the comments about the various ways that the P.C. can be used, we of the older generation are sometimes reluctant to widen our usage and a timely reminder helps to nudge us along .


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