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At least 30 years ago, seafarers had to resort to snail mail, once-a-month long distance calls, and those “over-over” conversations via radio. Thanks to technology, however, there are now more options on how to stay in touch with the family. These are just some of the latest technologies one can use to communicate with your loved ones.
It is the most popular online platform available and any seafarer should definitely create and maintain a Facebook account. You can add any of your family and friends as Facebook friend and stay in touch with them. You can post photos of places you visit, food that you ate, and share whatever is on your mind. You can also check what your family is up to and see if there are new milestones in your friends’ lives.
Messenger, a product of Facebook, is a great app when you want to communicate privately with individuals or a smaller group of people. You can create group chats or send messages to individuals. You can make voice and video calls as long as you have a steady Internet connection. This messaging app also allows you to send photos if you’re the type who doesn’t want to broadcast everything to everyone.
Short messaging service or text is always the quickest way to get in touch. Even if it’s just to say hi or a send a short greeting, SMS gets the job done. Telecoms companies like Globe and SMART offer different SIM value packs for overseas Filipino workers and it’s wise that seafarers get these.
Instant Messaging Apps
Some of the most popular instant messaging apps are Viber, WeChat and Telegram. Similar to Messenger, these apps allow you to create group chats, send messages to individuals, make voice and video calls, and send photos.
Even though you may have Messenger, it’s also wise to install one of these apps as back-up. Some countries like China, do not allow access to Facebook and Messenger so you need to use a different app to communicate with your loved ones. If you happen to dock in a country that bans Facebook, then you don’t have to worry if you need to make a call or are expecting a call from your family.
If you’re a bit old-fashioned and you still want to write long letters, then email is suggested. What’s great about emails is that your family can print out your letters and add them to the family scrapbook. Years later, it would be nice to look at what you shared with them without having to scroll through your Messenger conversations.
This one is not an efficient and quick way to keep in touch with your family. Just like emails, however, postcards are always nice keepsakes that you and your loved ones can look at long after you’ve deleted group chats and Facebook posts. Postcards are also a physical reminder of places you’ve been.
With the prevalence of digital platforms, and with old-fashioned means still in existence, there’s no reason why seafarers can’t keep in touch with their loved ones.