Staying in touch with family and friends has never been easier with the speed and efficiency of today's technology. We live in a world of e-mail, text and instant messages and mobile conversations.
While such options make it easy to stay in touch, these technologies have also lessened the emotional aspect of our communications.
Here are a few suggestions on how to use technology to stay close to loved ones and, at the same time, bring back the personal element in your communications.
* Send a personal DVD message. Now you can give the gift of vivid, colorful memories by creating personalized DVD messages for your friends and family. It's a fast, easy and fun way to stay in touch.
Can't make it to your high school reunion? Use a Sony DVD Handycam camcorder to record a special message to old classmates. You can even get special Sony DVD mail envelopes to share your discs.
Encourage friends and family to reciprocate. When you receive their DVDs, just pop them into your player as you would a movie.
* Make a Webcam chat date. A picture tells a thousand words, but real-time video speaks volumes. While nothing can replace an in-person conversation, you can get awfully close to the real thing with a Webcam chat.
Gather your loved ones in front of the Webcam to talk, view photos or share advice.
First time carving the turkey? Get Dad on the Webcam - he can probably walk you through it. Schedule your chat on a special occasion - perhaps on a birthday or holiday - and don't forget to plan your next one. You can even make it an annual event.
* Create a video file on your digital still camera. Forgot your mom's birthday or couldn't attend your child's school play? Send your loved ones a video clip so that they'll know how much you care.
Be creative, shake things up and share your ideas. It's never been so easy to "be there when you're not." - NU