Communicating online

The internet isn’t just about finding information. It’s also opened up lots of new ways for us to communicate with friends and family as well as people with similar interests. Email, video calling, blogging and instant messaging are just some of the ways you can communicate online.


Email is a quick and easy way to send messages and small files to people. Emails can be sent and received from any computer, anywhere in the world, that has an internet connection.

Instant messaging

Instant messages are text-based messages to other people connected to the internet. Facebook (, Twitter ( and mobile-based applications such as WhatsApp and iMessage are all popular ways to communicate with friends and family using instant messages.

Video calling

This is a phone call using the internet. Video calling allows you talk to another person in real-time and gives you the option to share a live video of yourself.


A blog is a website where you can publish your thoughts and interests. You can also find other people’s blogs, comment on their posts and join in with discussions. This is a good form of communication if you want to share your ideas with a wide audience or want to read about and discuss specific interests.

Here are some exercises you can try for some quick-practice:

Exercise 1 – Sign up for email account
There are lots of email providers out there. Last year, the UK’s most popular email providers were Gmail (Google mail), Outlook, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail. This exercise will take you through the steps to set up an email address with Gmail. Other companies will have similar set-up steps so feel free to choose any provider you fancy.

  1. Go to
  2. Click ‘Create Account’
  3. Follow the instructions to enter your details in the boxes provided
  4. Click ‘Continue to Gmail’ and follow the set-up guide

Exercise 2 – Send an email
Once you’ve set up your email account, send a message to a friend or family member. You’ll need to ask them for their email address before you start this exercise.

  1. Open your web browser
  2. Login to your email account
  3. Click ‘compose’ or ‘new’ to start a new email
  4. Add the recipient’s email address, a subject (e.g. hello) and write a simple message (e.g. Hello, How is your day going?)
  5. Click ‘send’