Mr Paddington Bear-Brown
32 Windsor Gardens
Thank you for your letter. As requested, here is some advice regarding using digital media to keep in contact with your relatives overseas.
It makes no difference to me that you have paws instead of hands although you may encounter difficulties operating a keyboard should you decide to fully embrace this technology.
I understand you are concerned that the letters you are writing take too long to reach your Aunt in Peru and the pace at which your life is currently moving is such that you require a quicker method of communication with her.
In the first instance, I would encourage you to use Skype. It is like a telephone but considerably cheaper – and often free – for international calls. Your local library will have more information regarding how this technology works and the equipment required if you wish to carry out research before committing.
I am fairly certain that the family you are living with in Central London will have wifi internet access in their house and computing facilities. Ask them to download and install Skype into the machine. All you would require on top of this would be a headset and microphone and I am sure your friend Mr Gruber that you mentioned would have several models available in his shop, or would be able to acquire them if not.
There may be situations where you do not require a real-time, 1-1 interaction with your Aunt where you actually hear each others’ voices. In this respect, I would suggest you join Facebook and add each other as friends.
I realise your Aunt has some reservations around this and believes it is ‘for the young folk’.
If we look at the data and demographics of Facebook users, this attitude, while understandable, is in fact incorrect. The 65 plus age group is the fastest growing on Facebook. It has a billion users worldwide and many of them are in your Aunt’s age group. You talked at length about your Aunt in your original letter and it is clear she is a very forward thinking and resourceful character and I’m sure she’d be able to figure it out and would enjoy being part of a modern communications platform.
Facebook would allow you to share pictures with each other and send short ‘status updates’ informing each other as to what you are doing. Some of your other friends – such as the Portobello Market traders – may already be on Facebook and you could add them as friends too or follow their business pages.
Please take care though as, without changing your privacy settings, much of what you say on Facebook could be accessed by the general public and I would hate for you to share private information unwittingly. I know how seriously you are about protecting your reputation. You might not want the market traders to discover your Aunt’s pet name for you and your already strained relationship with your neighbour, Mr Curry, might suffer further if he became aware of what you said about him in conversations with your friends.
You obviously enjoy travel and have a thirst for information about the world around you. So my final suggestion is that you consider joining Twitter. Again, this is free, and I must stress, 100% public.
It can be an extremely powerful way to find out what is going on, anywhere in the world. You choose who to follow and who’s updates you want to receive, or you can conduct searches on particular terms, for example, ‘marmalade’ and very quickly estbalish who is offering the best deals and then buy from them.
The company I work with delivers a very highly regarded social media training workshop and it would be great to see you at our next course. 100% of previous attendees said they considered it value for money and would recommend the course to a friend.
Give me a shout if you’d like me to book you a place.
Head of Marketing and Training