I live in Atlanta while my immediate family lives in Jacksonville, FL. I also have family who lives on the West Coast, others who live in the Bahamas and a best friend who lives in Spain. It’s common for people to have friends and family who are spread all over the world—relatives often relocate for work or retirement.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s nice to reach out to family and see how everyone is doing. Thankfully, innovative technology allows us to stay close and maintain strong bonds with our loved ones not only throughout the holiday season, but all year round.
Although nothing can replace a real hug, there are other ways to make loved ones feel a little closer. This list of ideas, apps and software make connecting with family and friends easy and fun.
1. Stay social
Social media sites offer a variety of ways to stay in touch with family. I’m sure you’re familiar and may be an avid user of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. But have you heard of Path? Path is a secure social network that provides a more personal outlet, limiting your circle of connections to 150. You can share pictures and videos without sharing it with the entire world.
Managing all of these social media accounts can become difficult and confusing. Hootsuite is a social media aggregator that helps you check and share with all of your accounts in one place.
2. Video chat
Video conferencing allows you to talk face-to-face with your family, no matter where they’re located. Although there are numerous video conferencing options available, you want to be careful when choosing one. You don’t want to deal with the frustration of having choppy audio and video delay. iMeet® is an online meeting tool that integrates best-in-class video and web conferencing that allows you to get together with others anytime you want. You can have a one-on-one conversation or have a family “reunion” and include up to 15 people, all on HD video. In fact, the HD video and crystal clear audio are just some features that separate iMeet from other online meeting tools available on the market. iMeet’s international dialing access makes speaking with people in other countries much more affordable. Some countries including Canada, France, Germany and the UK are included free-of-charge. Additionally, the softphone option is always free. If you have family in other countries, this can save you a lot on your next phone bill.
3. Share your voice
Picking up a telephone isn’t the only way you can hear the voice of a loved one. Recordable books and greeting cards are a great way to share the voice and personality of a loved one who is far away. There’s nothing better than opening a book or a card and hearing the voice of someone you love and miss dearly.
4. Stay tech savvy
Certain apps not only help you keep in touch with your family and friends, but they can also help save money. HeyTell is an app that lets you send and receive voice messages with other HeyTell users. With one click of a button, you can instantly record a voice message and send to your friends and family. Do you prefer texting? No problem. WhatsApp allows you to exchange messages for free. You can also create group chats, send photos, videos and share locations. Instead of spending money on international fees, download these apps for free.
Blogging is a great way to share stories with family and friends without having to send 20 separate emails. Do you have pictures you’d like to share as well? Share as many photos as you would like without worrying about attachment and file sizes. Your readers can also sign up for notifications so they will know when you post any new content.
Travel blogger Ayngelina Brogan left everything and everyone behind when she decided to begin traveling around the world. Her blog, Bacon is Magic, is full of pictures and videos of yummy food and beautiful images she’s seen throughout her journey. It’s so easy and fun keeping up with her on her new adventures.
How do you keep in touch with loved ones over the holidays? Let us know by joining the conversation on Twitter.