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Stay in touch and up to date online

It’s easy to get lost in the ether with so many notifications, apps wanting screentime and ads pushing for attention. EDIN READ looks at the easiest and most effective ways to communicate with family and friends.

Picking up the phone and talking to each other is the easy way to stay current, and you can end up chatting for hours. It’s one of the most enjoyable ways to have a catch-up without being next to each other.

But why not see each other too?

As they say, about 55 per cent of communication is non-verbal, so why miss some visual cues when it can be so easy to get to them?

There are multiple ways to video call when you can’t be there in person.

With cameras on at both ends, you can hear and see each other through your devices – just like a call.

A great example of this was during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

I could get together with my family in Sydney on a video call as we sat in our different places chatting and sipping our wine (and later, margaritas).

It was a great way to spend hours together when we were apart.

Apps such as FaceTime on Apple devices – iPhone/iPad – and Facebook Messenger, available on most phones, are the easiest to use.

It’s as easy to use them to video call as it is to make a phone call.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams are other ways to video call, but they introduce some complexity, such as having to have a Microsoft or Zoom account.

Most people will already have Apple or Facebook accounts.

Texting is an effective way to keep up with key information and most people use it as such.

It can be difficult to hold long conversations over text, so it’s common courtesy to keep things brief where possible, while maintaining politeness.

“Text talk” is mostly a thing of the past.

Facebook Messenger is an offshoot of Facebook, which serves as a less formal way to communicate.

It holds exactly the same purpose as texting, without the need for a phone number – it uses data rather than SMS.

It also means that you can talk to anyone that you have as a friend on Facebook without needing to get their number or further contact details.

If you’re already friends on Facebook, simply go into Facebook Messenger and start talking to them – it’s as easy as that.

The good old Facebook is an awesome way to keep up to date with family and friends.

Rather than having them send you an individual message with photos and details, it allows you to see what they’ve been up to and vice versa.

Once activated, you can add “friends” on Facebook, which is like adding a contact to your phone.

Search their names, find the right person and add as a friend. This is like you’ve subscribed to their news feed.

You can see the images/text they put up and interact by “liking” or “commenting” on it, just as you would if you saw them in real life.

They can see your posts too. Share pictures of your favourite café, a night at the opera or even yourself.

Just a reminder, comments you make on a friend’s post can usually be seen by all of your Facebook friends and theirs as well, so don’t get into hot water there.

 Edin Read is founder and chief technician at Greyology tech support for seniors. Visit or email

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