Do you travel often or have traveled previously? If so, then you probably have made some friends in other countries or have friends and family back home who you would like to keep in contact with. While letters can be a nice, personable way to communicate with someone, they can take a while to reach the recipient and don’t offer the luxury of holding a conversation. Email allows for conversation, but can be too formal/unpersonable and can still take a while. You can try calling/texting over the phone, but this can be expensive if everyone is in different countries. Today, we have a ton of apps and services that allow people the luxury of conversation with fast response and the ability to fully update people on what is going on in each other’s lives. Here is a list of some of the apps and services that are used by most people to make keeping in contact much easier:
Facebook w/Messenger: Facebook is one of the best options to keep in contact with everyone that you have met. Here people can post photos/videos, post status updates of things going on in their lives, find mutual or new friends, and even chat with each other. Facebook also has an app for most mobile devices and tablets, along with its Messenger app. The Messenger app basically acts as way to create one-on-one or group chats with people that you are friends with on Facebook. You can chat with people who are on the Messenger app or even on their computer. The Messenger app also has a “Make a Call” feature (although I have not used it much, if at all).
Twitter: Twitter is another social media giant that a lot of people use to keep up with people’s lives. Twitter is great for getting random life updates and for conversations on the web. It offers direct messaging, although the person you are messaging has to be following you back. A great feature for making more social conversations is using a hashtag. When you include a hashtag before a phrase, then more people can find the conversation just by following the hashtag. This is also good for when you want to go back and find conversations you have had before, just by searching for the hashtag.
Instagram: Instagram is the social media powerhouse of PICTURES, PICTURES, AND MORE PICTURES. Offering tons of filters and ways to make you photos look fantastic, Instagram is a fantastic way to keep friends up to date on where you are and how life is going. It also offers the use of hashtags, so that you can group your photos together with other people’s photos, of the same hashtag, and have a gallery of memories.
Skype/Facetime/Google Hangouts: Ever miss having a face-to-face conversation with your friends that live far away? Well then you should take advantage of video calls! There are 3 video calling services that most people use: Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts. Skype is the most well-known of the three and the one that most people use. It is simple and easy to figure out for people with low technical skills. You can make a two way call to one of your friends for free or get a subscription to make large group calls with all of your friends. It is also cross-platform functional, so anyone on any device can call each other. Facetime is a one-on-one video calling app that is specific to only Apple products. People who use Facetime on wifi can expect very good video quality, but only between Apple products (iPhones, Macs, etc.). Google Hangouts allows people who have a Google+ account to make group calls with each other. It also offers cross-platform functionality, but they have to have the Google+ app installed and have an account set up. If you are able, try all of them out and find which one works best for you!
Whatsapp: Whatsapp is an app (duh) that allows you to message and call people for free using an internet connection instead of using up your phone plan. This is handy for people who have international friends, or are travelling with friends, and need to get in contact with each other without dealing with international phone charges. You can do one-on-one messaging, group messages, voice messaging, broadcast messaging (send messages to a bunch of people without letting them know who all received the message), and make calls to friends who are registered on the app. Whatsapp is a free download and is free for the first year of use. After that, you need to make a yearly subscription of just $0.99, which is an amazing price for what you are getting out of it.
Snapchat: Here is an app that is widely popular, but there are still a ton of people who haven’t taken advantage of. Snapchat started as a way for people to send quick snapshots and short videos to their friends, but has since added quite a few more features. Users can send photos and videos, which can last up to 10 seconds before going away, to their friends on Snapchat. You can also post to “Your Story” to make a sequence of photos and videos for everyone on your friends list to view. You can also add filters, emoticons, and even draw on your photos/videos! Some newer options include being able to text-chat to your friends and even making live video calls when both of you are online. Snapchat is a fantastic option for people to let each other know what’s going on “in the moment” and keeping people updated on your life. (Side note: this app is fantastic for travel bloggers/people who are travelling. You should definitely consider downloading this app.)
(Know of some other apps/services that you didn’t see here? Share them in the comments!)
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