Communication is the most vital part of every enterprise. If you don’t communicate, people won’t know you exist. And if they don’t know you’re there, how are they going to know just how wonderful your product or service is?
CommunicationZone, as you might expect, is about communication: mobile and fixed telephones, internet by broadband or dialup, which includes email, fax (do people still use these? lol). Then there’s television, radio, audio in general, and even telegraphs, although BT have renamed these as ‘telemessages’. And then there’s singing telegrams and smoke signals. Hmm. Getting a bit off-topic here, I think.
We all approach communication from a different angle, depending on our intentions. Are you on fire about some all-consuming interest? Are you involved in marketing? Do you want to publish a book? Catch up on the latest news? Or just keep in touch with the office?
Keeping in touch
Different strokes for different folks, they say, and it’s just as true in communication as anywhere else. In the UK, for example, mobile phones (cellphones) have pretty much reached saturation point; anyone who’s not a die-hard technophobe is likely to have one (even kids as young as ten years old), or at least have access to one. Of course, there will always be those who attempt to swim against the tide, but the convenience of having such a device in your pocket surely far outweighs the annoyance caused by other people using them. Just the safety aspect of having an easy method of reaching the emergency authorities when you need them has got to make the mobile phone an essential item for all.
If you’re a business person in the market for a new cellphone, it’s worth checking out JustPhones’ special business deals. Just Phones are specialists in mobile phones for business users and should be able to cut your costs. They’re currently offering a no obligation quotation to all business users.
SMS or text messages are another way of using your mobile, of course. Although charges have recently increased, it is still often cheaper to send a text, rather than make a call, if the message is a fairly short one that doesn’t invite too many supplementary questions. And kids love sending each other texts – many of them will use their entire top-up voucher on texts back and forth to their friends. But you don’t always need a mobile to send texts. Some ISPs include free texts with their service. These may be limited to a certain number each day, but every little helps!
It’s good to talk
Most of us still use the fixed (landline) telephone network as well, if only because the calls are usually cheaper. It’s possible to get some really excellent rates for telephone calls, without having to change your number. One cheap call provider also makes it possible to save money on calls from your mobile as well.
Speed up your surfing
To use the internet you have to have a fixed line unless you want to pay for satellite broadband, which is neither the cheapest nor the most reliable option. It’s getting to the stage where dial-up access is no longer really very usable. You can turn off graphics and sounds to speed up loading pages, but you miss such a lot of information doing this, it isn’t necessarily a good idea. In any case, ADSL, DSL or broadband (they’re just different names for the same thing) is now so cheap, some packages are cheaper than certain dial-up packages. And you can use the phone while you’re online, which you can’t do with dial-up. I know people who had gone to the lengths of having a separate line installed for the internet, so they could still use their phone – for just a couple of pounds more than the rental for that extra line, they now have an entry-level broadband, giving them unlimited faster access without having to sacrifice their ability to call and be called at home.
Mail at the speed of light
I do realise email is sometimes a bit slower than theoretically it ‘ought’ to be. But in general, whatever you say, it beats old-fashioned snail mail hands down.
You can get free email services all over the place: for a start, many ISPs will give you a mailbox. Then there’s Hotmail, Yahoo, Earthlink… If you have your own webpage, you often get a mailbox (usually more than one) from your hosting company. And Google has just brought a new paid-for service onto the market as well.
My advice would be to use the email account your internet provider gives you, unless you’re with AOL which seems to be having trouble distinguishing spam from legitimate mail, causing no end of problems for its subscribers. So if you are with AOL, perhaps you would be better off finding a different email supplier.
Email has definite advantages over traditional mail, apart from speed. Some of the things you can put in the ‘virtual envelope’ with your message would be hard to send in a letter. I’m thinking of such items as audio recordings, animated gifs, and pdf files. Of course, it is illegal to share copyrighted material in this way without permission, but there’s nothing to stop you from sending a recording of your daughter singing happy birthday – and much easier for granny to deal with when it arrives than a cassette.
Sorting the gold from the dross
I swapped over from the old clunky Outlook Express with all its security problems to Mozilla Thunderbird a few weeks ago. It has a very similar look to OE, but it seems a lot quicker, and doesn’t keep hanging up on me, so I am very pleased. It’s available for a free download here, and it’s not restricted to Windows systems. You can also get versions to run under Linux, MacOS X and other operating systems.
Another thing I’ve been trying out, and am very impressed with, is Mailwasher Pro. Again, you can download it for free, but it’s just for a month’s trial. Judging by my experience, though, you won’t want to be without it once you’ve used it for a while.