Beyond Email: All About Online Communication

Lesson 1: All About Online Communication


illustration of instant messaging

In the past, email was the best way to communicate with people online. But today, there are many different ways to talk online, allowing you to do things like:

  • Make phone calls from your computer and even see the person you're talking with
  • Share with lots of friends at the same time without sending an email to each of them individually
  • Engage with different websites by making comments or posting your own content

Over the next several lessons, we'll take a look at some different methods of online communication, including chat, video calling, text messages, and status updates.

How people communicate online

When people are not online, they use a variety of communication methods, including phone calls, written letters, and face-to-face conversation. We use these different methods depending on the situation. Online communication is very similar: People may use instant messaging, video chat, or social networking depending on the situation. You can choose whichever methods best fit your needs.

Review the graphic below to get an idea of how a few different people communicate online.

Image of different avatars explaning how they communicate online

Staying safe online

No matter how you communicate online, you'll need to think about privacy and safety. Each service that we'll discuss has its own privacy settings. It's helpful to review these settings before using any service to avoid revealing your conversations and personal information to a broader audience.

Act as if you were communicating offline: Remember, everything you write online is relatively permanent, so even passing comments could have negative consequences for you or someone else in the future.

We recommend that you visit our Internet Safety tutorial for more information about staying safe online.