Electronic communication is become more and more popular as well as varied. In many cases, it is eclipsing or already has eclipsed more traditional lines of communication, like letter writing. This form of communication comes in many guises. Some of these allow individuals to communicate in real time, while others do not.
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Electronic mail, commonly known as e-mail, is one of the most popular uses of the Internet. According to International Data Corporation, 26.1 billion e-mails are sent every day from across the globe. Every e-mail user has an e-mail address composed of a username, followed by an "@" symbol, followed by a domain name, which indicates the user's Internet system. The address ends in the type of domain, such as an educational institution, which will end in ".edu." When an e-mail is sent, it goes from a user's outbox to his e-mail server. Then it is transferred to the recipient's server and finally routed to the recipient's e-mail inbox. This is a much faster way of sending a letter than using traditional postal mail.
The "short message service," or SMS, is most commonly referred to as the text message. These are short written messages that can be sent via cell phones or from a computer to a cell phone. The very first text message was sent that way in 1992. Today, billions of text messages are sent every day. Every major cell phone carrier makes money from text messaging, either by charging per text or offering customers monthly text messaging packages. Text messaging has even inspired its own shorthand vernacular to succinctly express longer phrases.
A newsgroup consists of a string, or thread, of messages relating to a single topic. The idea here is similar to sending an e-mail, except that the message can be read by anyone who can access the newsgroup. These people can also respond to any post in the thread. This creates an online discussion atmosphere. Almost all Internet service providers offer newsgroups where people can start a thread on any topic. These can be used to ask questions to be answered by strangers who may know the answer or simply to discuss topics of interest with large groups.
Videoconferencing enables video and audio to be transferred between two distant locations almost simultaneously. This is done by compressing the audio and video signals and transmitting them over the Internet. Through the use of this telecommunication technology, meetings can be performed between clients in different parts of the world without the need for any travel, which cuts down on time and expenses for all parties involved. Videoconferencing can also be used in the form of video chatting for personal communication, which works in the same manner and offers similar benefits.
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