How to Connect with Family and Friends through the Internet

There are over 300 million active users on Skype as of August 28th, 2013. It is one of the most effective tools for keeping in touch with people whenever distance separates you. On Skype, “you can share a story, celebrate a birthday…just about anything you need to do together every day.” All you have to do is call them up. Even if you do not use Skype, chances are you still use the Internet in some way to keep in touch with family and friends.

Skype is far from the only tool that allows connection over distance on the Internet. There is, of course, email, but there is also Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and countless other applications that have chat features. The Internet makes communicating over long distances convenient and sometimes instant. Regardless of your chosen method, the Internet helps bring people together when they cannot be in the same room with one another.

Keeping in Touch with Family and Friends

Skype has a few options for staying in touch with family and friends, even if they happen to live across the world. You can simply use the messaging feature and talk to your friend by text, or you can call them and have a voice conversation just like if you were on the telephone. Even beyond that, Skype has a video feature for anyone with a webcam. You would be able to hear and see the other person.

Skype does not cost anything when calling from computer to computer, but to call mobile phones or landlines there is a fee. You can choose between two different forms: pay as you go or a monthly subscription. Rates vary based on where you are calling and where you are calling from, however they can be as little as 2.3 cents per minutes on pay as you go, and monthly plans that range from $2.99 to $13.99.

If you do not wish to use Skype, perhaps communicating through Facebook with private messaging, public status updates, and pictures is an option. You may also choose to stick with Instagram or Flickr to share photos. Most of these websites offer free accounts, although some may have premium offers available.

Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod users also have the potential to use the FaceTime application to video call their family and friends. It is as simple as a tap to connect over a Wireless and Internet connection. You even have the ability to make calls over a cellular network.

While it may not seem like an obvious option, you can also use YouTube to keep in touch. One famous example of YouTube as a connection tool is the Vlogbrothers channel, which began as two brothers wanting to keep in touch through short video blogs every day for one year.

Of course, there is always email as an option for staying in touch!

Look at the Numbers

Skype has over 300 million users, and 4.9 million of those users are active on a daily basis. As of October 5th 2015, users spent approximately three billion minutes on Skype per day. We already know about the costs for calling on Skype to mobile phones or landlines. What about the impact on an Internet connection?

The average voice call on Skype takes 1.5 megabytes per minute, and a video call takes up to 7.5 megabytes per minute. If you were on Skype for an average 30 minutes per call, it would take 45 megabytes for a voice call and 225 megabytes for a video call. If you are calling multiple people and making multiple calls in a month, the data can really add up.

While typing in a status update on Facebook may not take much data at all, uploading photos on any website or application can take up a significant amount of data, particularly with high-quality images. Reports indicate that the average is 300 megabytes per 10 photos of average quality. With more than 75 million daily Instagram users, the data photos take will add up just like data from Skype calls.

FaceTime calls, on average, will take approximately three megabytes per minute. This means a 30-minute call would use 90 megabytes of data. Keep in mind, however, that this amount will vary based on call quality and the version of iOS your device uses.

In the case of YouTube videos, the consensus is that the video’s file size determines how much data it takes to upload. This means a four-minute 200-megabyte video would take 200 megabytes of data to upload.

Low Cost to Keep in Touch

The Internet has countless options for keeping in touch with family and friends who may live far away. It offers instant connection versus waiting days or even weeks for a letter to arrive in your mailbox. Despite the ease of connectivity, you may encounter some fees with services such as Skype if you want to expand beyond their basic offerings. Additionally, everything on the Internet requires a certain amount of data, and keeping in touch is no different.

The best thing that you can do to keep costs down when it comes to Internet service bills is to contact Billshark. We will negotiate with your service provider on your behalf so that you get a lower price on your bill. Once we are successful, we split the first year of savings with you. Those savings will help you spend the time that you want connecting with your family and friends through the Internet.

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