Technology offers a variety of ways to chat and keep in touch with your friends. You aren't limited to talking on the phone. You can catch up on the latest gossip, birthday/wedding announcements and other news a variety of ways--from talking on your cellular phone to chatting on the Internet using a chat program. With today's technology, you can chat with friends as close as the next house or halfway around the world.
Conventional & Cellular Phones
Chatting via a landline telephone is one conventional way of communicating with your friends. Landline telephones are still in use today, but they are quickly becoming a relic of the past. Instead of using a landline telephone, many people are using cellular phones to keep in touch with friends. You can call from anywhere in the world with a cell phone. You can also chat by texting using the cell phone's keypad or QWERTY keyboard. Cell phones can be purchased from a variety of retail stores and websites.
Instant Messenger Programs
One way of chatting with your friends on the Internet is by using an instant-messenger program like Yahoo! Messenger or AOL Instant Messenger. Instant-messenger programs have built-in features such as photograph sharing, webcam viewing and even voice chatting with your friends. Most instant messenger programs are free, easy to download and available for PCs and Macs.
Internet Relay Chat
Another way of chatting with friends on the Internet is by using Internet Relay Chat. IRC is a chat client invented by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. The program is similar to an instant-messenger program. The latest version is mIRC, which can be downloaded by clicking on the link in the Resources section. While mIRC is easy to use, each of your friends will have to download a copy of the program in order for everyone to chat.
Facebook & MySpace Chat
Both Facebook and MySpace social networks have a built-in chats client that can be used to communicate with your friends. Facebook's chat option is located on the bottom right-hand side of your profile screen. Your friends will have to be members of the Facebook service before chatting. On MySpace, simply download the “MySpaceIM for Web” chat client. Also, both services let you use your cellular phone to post messages on your and your friends' Facebook and MySpace pages—this is ideal for short updates or to alert your friends about what time you want to chat online.
Chatting with your friends by using a video service like ooVoo is another way to keep in touch. The service uses a webcam and microphone. It lets you see the friend you're chatting with in real time. The service is free for 30 days, and you and your friends can be chatting via the Internet in a matter of minutes after downloading the program. You don't need a credit card to sign up--just sign up by visiting the company's website.