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Keeping in Touch Online

There are many ways that you can keep in touch with friends and family online. Email and Video Chat are very popular (and free) ways to communicate with others.


Email (or Electronic Mail) is a written form of communicating with others. You can set up a free email account online to send messages to your friends and family. In addition to sending written messages you can also send pictures and videos. It is also possible to send an email to more than one person. Email is great for communicating with companies too. If you have a query or a complaint you can now contact many organisations via email.

To send and receive email you will need;

  • a computer
  • an internet connection
  • the email addresses of the people that you would like to contact
  • your own personal email account
  • to share your email address with those people who you would like to stay in touch with

Setting up your Email Account

You can choose from a variety of different email providers such as Hotmail, Google and Yahoo. All of these companies provide email addresses for free. You will be asked to choose your own username (your own personal email address for example, and password to keep your account secure.

E Newsletters

You can sign up to receive E Newsletters from organisations, such as InfoNOW news and  the Elders Council Newcastle to stay up to date with news and information about things that interest you. Most organisations send E Newsletters, including magazines, newspapers and sports clubs.

Video chat

You can use a computer to speak to someone online and see them too. A popular video chat service is provided by Skype. This is often used by people who have family and friends abroad to keep in touch.

It is free to use this service and you can often access this technology through your local library if you don’t have a computer at home.

If you have access to a computer you will need, access to the internet, a webcam and to download the software from a company such as Skype or Zoom. Once you have set up your own account you can start calling your friends and family who also have a Skype account.

If you use an Apple Mac, an iPad, iPhone or iPad, you will use a slightly different programme called Facetime. This application (also known as an app) can be downloaded for free from iTunes and is used in the same way as Skype.

If you have a smartphone then you can video call for free on WhatsApp or alternatively download the software app to your Windows PC or Mac.

See Digital Unite‘s guide on Skype for more information.

Social networking and blogs

Social networking is a way of using your computer to talk to other people, make connections with new people, exchange pictures, invite people to an event; whatever you want to do.

Popular social networking websites include Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. ‘Blog’ is short for ‘web log’  and is basically an online diary created by someone to record in writing their thoughts, feelings or views on a specific subject or on life in general.

Digital Unite have some very helpful online guides introducing you to various computer basics, including one on social networking.

Other Useful Information

Last updated: March 11, 2021