Being away for 4 days this last weekend (celebrating a 50th birthday), meant I relied heavily on social media to stay in touch with loved ones back home.   I didn’t use texts or emails, instead I snapchatted the whole time.  So I thought I’d explore the many ways we can stay in touch now – for 4 days – or a whole term!


Let’s start with Snapchat – my new crush.  It allows you to send your contact, or contacts, a photo that can be viewed for a maximum of 10 seconds.  Snapchat also allows you to add a message to the photo – typed or ‘drawn’ on.  Another feature allows you to add photos to your ‘story’ (a photo, a video or a collection of photos), then all of your contacts can see your story for up to 24 hours.  After that it disappears.  Snapchat is fun, quick, free and private. I’m hooked.


Whatsapp – as the name suggests is also an app – one that allows you to send messages to a group, like texting.  Great for having a group and family conversations, with the added bonus that it’s also quick, free and private.


Instagram.  The thing I love about Instagram is that it’s an app that allows you to use it like a photo diary.   Your followers (and non-followers unless your account is privacy protected) can see your images and any text.  You can also edit and add filters to your photos – to ‘moody them up’ etc.  As this is an image based app, words are not really the point, but a lot can be said with a thoughtful title and hashtag – or two or three. Our Instagram account is here –


FaceTime is great if you want to see and hear each other.  I find it better than Skype, it’s always ‘ready’ you just type in the contact you want to speak to and press FaceTime – no lists to create, you just use your address book, no accepting, no time lags and the audio doesn’t tend to unsync like it does on Skype.  The downside is, you can only FaceTime on an Apple product.

The great thing about all of these methods of keeping in touch is that they are all relatively easy and straightforward to use.  They don’t tie anyone down to long conversations – you can stay in touch ‘lightly’.  A Snapchat exchange can take a minute but can convey a lot, and shows someone that you are thinking of them. With the tap of a finger you can let someone know about the details of your day – regularly.  So much better than back in the day when if you wanted to speak to your loved one whilst you were away from home you would have to queue to use the phone box – with a bag of coins!  That feels like a century away, not just one generation.


How do you or how do you plan to keep in touch with your child at uni or living away from home? S