Growing up I used to write letters for family, send photos and pictures. None of it was instant, like it is now.
To get your letter delivered, have a reply written and then to receive that could take up to 2 weeks. Nowadays, all that can be done in less than 2 minutes thanks to instant messaging and social media.
We live in Suffolk and my aunties and nanny live in Somerset, so keeping in touch with them has always been important to us and has always required commitment and patience.
With my brother now living away from Suffolk too the internet has become an essential part of our relationship.
SkypeI never really got the hype with Skype. I didn't like it, mainly because of bad experiences I suppose with spam accounts and spam messages, and the faff of having to set up webcams. With laptops now coming with built in webcams life is so much easier, and now for me Skype has never been more wonderful.
Being able to sit your children in front of the screen so they can update their Uncle and Grandad and Grandma on school news and showing off their brand new t shirt can be just as good as seeing them in the flesh. It's also a great way to keep the children entertained, and babysat, whilst you are busy making dinner or tidying up.
Long gone are those days where we print off holiday photos, arrange them into an album and two or three weeks after the holiday has passed do we share these photos with family and friends. Now, it's instant.
I think the other great thing about Facebook is involving the boys with conversations. Recently, Charles' grandma wrote a status wishing him a happy birthday and rather than thanking her myself, I got Charles to reply instead. Which made it extra special and made more sense. But it was lovely to step back and let him take the lead, simply because he could.
Online game sitesOther than the typical social media channels the availability of game and entertainment websites helps to create an alternative to a girls night out.
Sites such a Bingocams, mean you can "meet" your family and play Bingo whilst in the comfort of your own lounge made even better by having the ability to see each other via webcam.
Combine with that some wine and nibbles and it's the perfect alternative to a girls night out.