Sunday nights are made a little brighter and happier by the hilarious TV show, Modern Family. Anyone who watches it regularly will agree that it leaves you with a smile on your face! But last Sunday night, it actually gave us a valuable lesson. Not about love, kindness or generosity like family shows often try to convey, but about modern day technology and exactly how we could use it.
Clare – a mother to three teenage children, wife to a somewhat crazy husband and daughter to a man who married someone her age, was stuck in an airport after a business trip waiting to go home. She pulled out the computer and started up Face Time… The entire episode proceeded to be shot through Face Time and it was incredible!
One minute she was on Skype to her husband Phil. Then she simultaneously began Face Timing her Dad to ask a question. Then she sent her daughter Hayley a message on iMessage, on her computer, that automatically arrived at Hayley’s phone. Then she Face Times her brother Mitchell to ask if he’d seen Hayley. Then she simultaneously Face Timed her other two children to ask if they’d seen Hayley. Then she went back to iMessage to send more messages – and so the episode went on.
It was ridiculously hilarious and totally clever, and it had me thinking, do we really understand how to harness the power of communication using the technology we already have in our every day lives?
Firstly we need to understand the programs and apps that are awesome for communication…
1. Face Time
Face Time is an Apple only product that allows face-to-face chat over the internet. It’s a simple as clicking an icon on your computer, iPhone or iPad and then “calling” another contact. It’s quick, easy and as Modern Family showed us, you can easily jump in and out of conversation and hold them simultaneously.
Skype is very similar to Face Time only it isn’t restricted for use on only Apple products. It’s also calls over the internet and it can be a voice call, video chat call and you can message using a live chat feature too.
iMessage is an Apple only messaging service that can simultaneously send messages to another Apple users iPhone, iPad or Apple computer. It’s effectively texting or live chatting over the internet with people on other Apple devices. You can host group messages which make it great for family communication.
4. Viber & WhatsApp
Viber is a web based app available on Android and Apple phones that allows users to voice call and message over the internet.
So how can you use them in your every day life?
Just like we saw in the Modern Family episode, the iMessage service is awesome for communicating to family members. In our family, it’s great that the grandkids can let everyone know what sporting activities they have on every week so we can all go and support each other. Or, we can plan family weekends away or dinners with ease and all know who is coming and who is bringing what – no Chinese whispers!
Face Time and Skype are great because you can see each other and have a face to face conversation with everyone no matter where you are in the world! An uncle in the family works as a fi-fo so when he is away we can enjoy family dinners, ring him on Face Time and all have a family chat while feeling like he’s there too!
Internet calls are great while you’re travelling too because you don’t have to worry about buying an international sim card. Just connect to the nearest wifi and you can give anyone you like a ring!
The biggest trick is to make sure that the people you contact regularly and would like to use these services with, also have them downloaded and available on their devices. At the next family or friends catch up, get everyone downloading the apps and then you’ll always be in contact with each other, making the most of the latest incredibly communication technology!
Tell us, do you currently use any of the above programs? Share your thoughts in the comments below…