How do we keep Internet communication simple? Let’s start by taking a look at the different methods used to communicate on the web. It is important to understand the nuances and benefits of the different forms.
This is the most popular communication method. Users typically use desktop software to receive, read and respond to messages. Some users use web-based mail and manage messages in a web browser like Internet Explorer. The downfall to email communication is that anyone can send email messages to anyone else if they have (or guess) the correct email address. This system’s Achilles heel is its simplicity and universal popularity.
Email accounts are often burdened by spam or unsolicited email. Despite software developers having created complex spam filters and legislators having introduced new anti-spam legislation, the problem persists and spam continues to burden email as a messaging medium.
Email Clients – http://www.messaging-software.net/e-mail-client-software.htm
Spam Software – http://www.email-software.org/spam-filter-software.htm
Instant messaging allows users to “chat” in real time. Users can send text messages to anyone online and receive instant replies if the user is also online. The “instant” fad gave way to parental fears as children made “friends” online. With no way to confirm if “friends” are who they represent themselves to be, and multiple security holes, instant messaging has taken a back seat in internet communication.
Instant Messaging – http://www.instant-messaging-software.com
Online journals and daily diaries have taken hold. Some blogs are interactive, allowing users to respond and comment on posts. Locating topic-specific blogs that provide relevant and interesting content on a daily basis can be a challenge. The nature of a blog is to contain fresh public content. As our lives become more complicated blogs are often abandoned, as they require constant updating.
Blog Connections – http://www.blog-connection.com
RSS is the latest messaging medium and shows genuine promise as a means to communicate. RSS files are produced as XML files and are designed to provide content summaries of news or information. The biggest benefit to RSS is that it does not have the spam issues inherent to email; users opt-in to the RSS feeds that interest them.
RSS Specifications – http://www.rss-specifications.com
Forums / Newsgroups
A forum is an online discussion group. Forums can be newsgroups, or they can be web-based discussion groups. Forums have proven themselves as valuable business resources – often creating communities of customers helping customers. Without moderation and oversight they can potentially create an unfriendly environment.
Message Board Software – http://www.messaging-software.net/message-board-software.htm
Liststervs are mailing list programs for communicating with other people who have subscribed to the same list. Using e-mail, you can participate in listservs pertaining to your topics of interest. When you submit a message to the server, your message is relayed to all on the listserv. You receive messages from other participants via e-mail.
Yahoo Groups – http://www.yahoogroups.com
Internet communication is intrinsically tied to the hardware options available. Wireless technology has accelerated the development of messaging software, opening the market to a dizzying array of devices for web access. Where we were once tied to a keyboard and mouse, we will soon be navigating the web with our voices from a moving automobile, or browsing via screens in our eyewear, with tiny cameras reading our eye movements to move the cursor and make selections. Our interactive conversations will include more and more participants at once. Evaluating the many options and choosing what works best for you is the first step to effectively communicating on the web.
Copyright 2004 Sharon Housley
About The Author