The Revolution of communication

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The rich and developed part of the world has changed much since the internet started to be used in private homes.

What is most significant is the improved communication, which has in fact experienced a total revolution. 30 years ago it was popular to be part of penpal clubs. Now one cannot wait for weeks or months for a reply. People are being brought together and the mind of man has expanded to the level that communication can happen live from almost anywhere to anywhere in the world.

Online communication includes text messages of phones, as these SMS or text messages are actually sent as e-mail messages.

E-mail can be sent across the world with attachments as documents, photos and images, sound and music as well as film clips. This enables people to communicate and take decisions much faster and on a much better basis than ever before. Some call it information overflow, but we are always forced to discard some information and that was the case even before the internet or tv started. Gossip and useless details have always been part of human communication. We just have to live with that.

Instant messaging started with online communication between 2 computers as IRC or point to point communication. Yahoo Messenger is one of the best on the net and has developed from being live text message communication to include smilies, formatting tools, backgrounds, group chatting, sounds, sound greetings, transfer of files, live audio communication and finally also live web cam and duplex audio communication. Other Instant Messenger system exist such as MSN from Microsoft and iChat from Apple, as well as other systems, but none of them beat the Yahoo Messenger, which is free to download and use.

Chatting in chat rooms was and still is very popular. Special communities chat about certain topics and some chat channels are open to any topic. Chatting can be addicting and exciting. It is great for family members who live far apart or to get a hot date. Instead of using the phone or going to the bar to meet new people many go online to chat. Problem is that some think they can behave unpolitely as they sit in the comfort of their home and nobody actually sees them. This is why chat etiquette has developed. Additionaly chat sites have rooms and private message options. Those that do not follow chat etiquette can be kicked out or banned temporarily or permanently, based on automatic or human evaluation of the transgression of a chatter. Some flood and others use profane words, impersonation etc. What is inside a person of good or evil often comes out in a chat room.

Forums are great way of online communication where others can see the posts of others and reply to questions or opinions with their own comments. So even you are not online all the time, you can read the messages later. Some forums send posted replies as email so you do not need to log in to see replies on the forums. Forums can be about specific topic or sub-topics, and sorted according to new topics, topics with newest replies or persons etc. Many also allow email communication between members, where members do not see each others email address, but get it into their mail box account at the forum where they are members. Forums are great for collection specialized information and getting unique knowledge from others who have experienced similar troubles or challenges.

Blogs are possible the latest craze of the net, where people have their daily diary open to the public or to post news and announcments and press releases. Google offers free blogs with various layouts and easy set up. Blogs are the easy way of having a web site. The almost only thing you do is to type the text that you want to publish. Blogs are also used for publishing specialized knowledge.

Aside from e-mail then the internet has become most known for web sites. Now any company in the world with respect for itself has its own domain name and web site. New companies "to be" are even advised not to decide about a company name unless the name is available as domain name also. Web sites can be poorly designed or a pleasure for the eyes. The technology behind how to make web sites and what can be done on them has developed dramatically. I remember that in an e-mail I got about internet design, an "expert" said that it was good to have animated gifs if one wanted a more live site. I guess that has been in the late 90's. Now flashing gifs are annoying and you are to use Flash which has sound and can give smooth and delightful impression to the visitors. Anyways I usually skip Flash intro's to sites and go for the content. Some sites are entirely designed in flash. So much for user friendliness towards those who have not installed or accept flash-movies.

E-books are a popular way to publish reports where the reader is to pay for getting special information. So you can give away your email address and then be guided to a page where to download the free e-book. Some also charge for ebooks. Then you must come up with the credit card first and then through secure payment gateway pay some dollars before you can read the e-book. Many e-books are .exe files which means that Mac users can not read those books, as they are not platform independent.

IP-telephony has already been in use some years, but with Skype it has and will become even more popular worldwide. Even the old trusted telephone systems are now competing for clients because of the communication revolution caused by the internet. Some give up their regular phones and use cell phones only and some quit regular phone subscriptions and instead use ip-phones. This will benefit worldwide communications a lot as prices of ip-telephony is much cheaper than regular phone rates.

The latest trends are Web 2.0 or social media, where people interact based on interests or common issues and large communities are world known. Next to Google is now YouTube, where people find information about many things. On most websites today there is some kind of user interaction where website visitors comment or recommend a site to their friends, by email or mostly by clicking a ready made link to Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, where millions of people meet and communicate with each other and their family, friends, old classmates or special interest and pressure groups. Social discussions take place on each others wall and private messages can be sent as well as instant chatting.

All the above is now also available on the mobile phones, since cell phones now have internet as well as the old fashioned call and SMS messages. Mobile phones use the internet technology of Skype to lessen mobile call prices, while seeing each other and sending text messages as well as attachments. Communication tools have never been as readily available as now, and the generation growing up with these technologies does not find it strange or special to communicate with people all over the world.


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