A man is a social animal and loves to interact with fellow human beings. Along with the basic necessities of life like food, shelter and clothing, equally important are the need to communicate with others. Rare is the man who lives alone and does not interact with others and is considered to be happy.
Before the advent of the electronic media, there were only two kinds of communication, verbal and non-verbal. But with the arrival of the World Wide Web, there are a plethora of methods that people can now communicate with each other. The online communication definition today, refers to how people as well as computers communicate with each other through a computer network and the internet.
Not a surprising factor, people are resorting more to online communication than the traditional forms due to its many advantages like the flexibility it provides for the person to communicate across the world with someone else. Parents and children and friends and siblings living in different corners of the world have been brought together by the click of a button. This form of communication also gives leverage to people who are more comfortable expressing their thoughts by putting them down on paper’ meaning typing on the chat window or the email; than just speaking their thoughts out. It also gives an opportunity for a person to edit and correct what they want to communicate.
Since online communication is documented, it can be stored for later reference and has been known to be of importance especially related to legal aspects. Online communication saves a lot of time as well since the people involved can perfectly carry it on while doing other things as compared to a verbal communication where both parties have to be present.
Online communication can be a wide variety of things like communicating through chat rooms, through instant messaging applications, through electronic mails, through online forums, filling out requisite forms online, posting comments online through different social media sites or blogs, through social networking, or through online conferencing both video and audio. All of these types of online communication are being effectively used today increasingly.
Emails: Emails or electronic mails were the earliest forms of online communication. This is considered to be the sole reason for the decline of the postal service across the world. A method that saves time and money, it is still widely used by a multitude of people across the world for personal and professional communication. Emails work through an online interface and are hosted on the servers of different Internet Service Providers.
SMS: Another word for this is Short Messaging Service. As the name suggests, these are short messages with a capping of 160 alphanumeric characters that are transmitted from the sender to the receiver through the internet.
Chats: This is a very popular method of online communication as it allows a user to carry on a discussion with one or multiple people at the same time. The chat servers belong to a chat network through which the transcripts are broadcasted.
Forums: Also known as bulletin boards or discussion boards, these are online sessions that have multiple users interact with each other by posting messages on the same chat trail. This is popular for having discussion and debates on any particular topic.
Whiteboards: This tool or application works like a physical whiteboard and enables the user to draw or write on an online interface. It is popular in educational institutions and is good for one-way communication.
Instant Messaging: This mode of communication is an enhanced method of the chat. Messages can be conveyed through a special software to any user who is part of the same instant messaging network. Both users have to be connected to the relevant network to be able to communicate online. However, if one user is not available they will be notified of getting a message from a user.
VoIP: VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is used to denote any audio or video transmission that happens between two or multiple users. This is a very popular method of communication nowadays as it allows users to interact real time and also captures the subtle nuances of the age-old verbal communication. This is used today mostly for hosting meetings and conference calls. A very popular company in this field is ezTalks that offers different methods of video conferencing.
Trillian (all in one): The latest in the online communication world, this is an innovative method of communicating online. The main advantage of this tool is that users can connect with numerous instant messaging services without having to create multiple connections.
Today, the online methods have made communication all the easier and have managed to bring people closer to each other. More than a method, this is fast becoming a way of life.