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Dane Cobain
03 Dec 2014 85 2 mins Share

Apps you can use to stay in touch with family while living abroad

Is good to know the social networking sites and smartphone applications that make keeping in contact with people a pleasure.

03 Dec 2014 85 2 mins Share
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Staying in touch with the ones that you love has never been easier. The rise of the internet, social media and the smartphone has signalled a new connected era in which it’s almost impossible to drop off the radar.

For today’s youth, keeping in touch with family and friends while studying away from home has never been easier. Here are five social networking sites and smartphone applications that make keeping in contact with people a pleasure.

1 – Keek

Keek is a social video application that allows you to connect with friends via video. You can video chat in real-time, subscribe to other users and even send video-based private messages to up to 36 people at once. Described as ‘the Twitter for video-based status updates’ by TechCrunch and as ‘a combination of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter’ by Forbes, Keek is available for some Blackberry devices and most Android and iOS devices, including tablets. 

2 – WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a device-agnostic instant messaging application that allows Android, Blackberry, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone users to send each other text-based instant messages, as well as video, photography and audio. Because it operates over the same internet data plan that you use for browsing the net and checking your e-mails, the service is entirely free – that’s why it has 200 million users and handles over ten billion messages every day.

3 – Snapchat

Despite being touted as a sexting app, Snapchat is a great way to send quick updates to your friends and family. The app, which is particularly popular with youngsters, allows you to send photographs and videos with a timer attached to them – the recipient can view them for up to ten seconds, before the images automatically delete themselves. Because of this, it’s easy to let people know what you’ve been up to without worrying about posterity.

4 – Google+

While it’s unlikely that you’ll use Google+ in the same way as you might use Facebook to keep your connections updated with your daily life, it does have one saving grace that’s perfect for keeping in touch with the folks back home. Enter Hangouts – Google+’s video calling system that’s like Skype, only better. With Hangouts, you can share a video call with up to ten different people at a time, and you can share your screen as well – useful if you need some help with your dissertation. 

5 – 1 Second Every Day

Sure, you want to speak to your parents and your best friend on a regular basis, but what about those people who you don’t see as often? How can you show them quickly and easily what you’ve been up to for the last six months? Enter 1 Second Every Day, the brainchild of Cesar Kuriyama – he filmed a second of his life every day and spliced it all together. This application lets you do the same, and it’s a great way to communicate a huge amount of information in a short space of time. Just watch the video below to see how it works in practice.
No matter where you are in the world, and no matter where your friends and family are living, it’s never been easier to keep in touch with them. Just remember what Twitter said this Mother’s Day – sometimes, you can’t beat a good, old-fashioned phone call.

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