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Family Tech: There are other ways to communicate over the internet aside from email - March 11, 2016

Ray Tomlinson died March 5 at the age of 74. Tomlinson invented email back in 1971 while working for a Boston company that helped develop ARPANET, the precursor to the internet. 

Email has been both a boon and a curse. While we love the ease and speed of communicating, we also have to constantly battle spam. Be careful of emails delivering harmful malware as attachments and greetings from Nigerian princes and other cons. 

The blessing and fault of email is that anyone can contact us through it if they know our email address. 

There has arisen a multitude of communication tools where we first have to approve or like someone, before they can communicate with us. That makes for cleaner communications. 

So now when I want to communicate with someone, I have to figure out their preferred contact app. For example, I know a young professional woman who responds just fine to email, but responds even quicker to a Facebook Messenger message. 

With Facebook Messenger, the message pops up on her phone’s screen instantly and makes a sound. If she’s free and my message is compelling, I get a response quickly. I in turn see it quickly and we can thus have a brief conversation and get the issue resolved in minutes instead of a day. 

With Facebook Messenger and the others, a person has to ask to be your friend before they can send you a message. This makes spam, phishing and emails trying to con you are all but eliminated. 

With Facebook Messenger you can also place phone calls. The calls do not eat into your minutes because the calls are carried entirely over the internet using VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. So if you are on your home Wifi and the person you are calling is also on the internet, no one’s phone minutes are being consumed. 

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