Personal communications

These modern methods for communicating are utilized by scores of people throughout the world today. There are almost countless numbers of these technologies; included below is a non-comprehensive list.

Short Messaging Service (SMS)

Webopedia defines SMS as "the transmission of short text messages to and from a mobile phone, fax machine and/or IP address. Messages must be no longer than 160 alpha-numeric characters and contain no images or graphics". While increasing in popularity, it is extremely popular throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia, since SMS messages are usually much cheaper than voice calls in those regions. For example, Wikipedia reports that people in the Phillipines average sending 10-12 text messages a day, while Americans only average sending about 13 messages per month. However, SMS popularity in the United States is growing, as over ten billion messages were sent across Cingular's network in late 2006. Text messaging has taken on a culture of itself for users, creating the lexicon verb texting (the act of having an electronic conversation from sending and receiving SMS messages). SMS is also being utilized for productive means, as stock quotes, weather alerts, and sports scores are now available through text messaging services. Additionally, at some schools in Australia, parents can even receive attendance reports for their children from school administrators via SMS, informing them if their child is missing class.


There are numerous definitions for chat available, but most would agree that it is a type of text-based synchronous communication utilizing Internet-based technology among single users or groups. The emergence of voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) technologies have also allowed voice chat to become intergrated into chat programs, even further increasing their popularity. Besides simple verbal communication, many chat applications allow users to share their creative skills using online whiteboards and express themselves through sounds and emoticons (standard keyboard combinations which can convey emotion). Most popular Internet portals provide some sort of chat application today; here are a few examples:
As more computer systems integrate cameras (where Apple goes, Microsoft will follow and bring Dell along), ad-hoc internet discussion groups are inevitable. Given the number of cell phones that now include digital cameras, and what that means to manufacturing volumes, quality will improve and cost will come down.

Web Forums

According to Wikipedia: Web Forums, also known as Internet Forums, Message Boards, or Discussion Boards, are facilities on the World Wide Web that exist so that users can post user-generated content to a larger community. Most Web Forums are driven solely by their mostly-anonymous users and moderated by more experienced subject-matter users. Each discussion topic contributed by a user is known as a "thread". Replies within these "threads" are either flat (posts are listed in a chronological order) or threaded (each post is made in reply to a parent post). Many Web Form users form tight knit communities that exist and meet outside of their online forums.

Web Forums are one of many technologies seen to be building blocks in Web 2.0 applications/websites. Examples of popular technology related Web Forums include:

Multimedia Message Service (MMS)

Wikipedia defines a MMS as "a standard for a telephony messaging systems that allows sending messages that includes multimedia objects (images, audio, video, rich text) and not just text messages as in Short message service (SMS)." These services are generally deployed through cellular serivices and PCS. With the expansion of services that MMS offers over SMS many cellular phones of the future have the potential to offer great educational benefits. As IBM research indicates an interactive Multimedia Message Service (iMMS) technology is still being developed but companies are intrigued by not only the potential to deliver new content but to gain profits from its adoption. The technology can act very similarly to Podcasts, but can interact with other communication technologies for added features.

Some companies that are including MMS technology or variations of the technology include:

Email Discussion Lists (Listservs)

This is an email list service that generates an email broadcast to all subscribers. The results are similar to a newsgroup or forum but the information is delivered via email. It was originally developed by Eric Thomas for BITNET in 1986. LISTSERV is actually a product of L-Soft (founded by Thomas) but has been the commonly accepted name of what is actually Email Discussion Lists.