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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

International Communication: Ways to Stay in Touch


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Note: This list is for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of State. Links to websites outside the U.S. federal government or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names are for the convenience of the user and do not constitute an official endorsement or approval of any private sector product, service, website, or privacy policy.

CHAT AND SOCIAL NETWORKING

Skype
- Voice, video, and conference calls, and instant
messaging
- Send documents or pictures
- Free download available for cellular phones,
computers, and some televisions
- Skype to Skype calls are free. Calls to cellular
phones or land lines are available through
pay-as-you-go plans or monthly subscriptions.
- Get a U.S.-based number that rings in your home
overseas for a monthly fee
-SMS text message rates vary per country

Facebook
- Social network through instant messaging,
photo sharing, status updates, and more

Google

Google Chat
- Free voice or video chat through Gmail

Google Talk
- Free instant Messaging, Conference Voice Chat,
and File Transfers
- Only compatible with PCs

Google+ Hangouts
- Free video chat with up to 9 people

BLOGS

Blogger (via Google)
- Create a blog for free to share with family/friends

WordPress
- Free preformatted blog templates
- Create a blog and share with family and friends
to view and comment on

 Twitter
- Microblog 140 characters at a time
- Subscribe to friends / family member accounts
to receive all of their updates
- Free

Tumblr
- Free, fully customizable
- Share posts easily with other social media

PHOTO STORAGE AND SHARING

Photobucket
- Store and send photos and videos via email
or instant message

Flickr
- Store and organize photos for friends and family
- Free but storage is limited

Google Picasa
- If you already use Gmail or have a Google account,
you already have access to Picasa
- 1GB free storage

TELEPHONE OPTIONS

Vonage International
- Choose from international calling plans
Vonage World ($25.99/month) and Vonage
World Plus 1000 ($54.99/month)
- Keep your existing phone number or get a new
U.S.-based phone number that rings in your home
overseas for a monthly fee

Long Distance Calling Cards
- The following sites offer long distance calling
card rate comparisons by country:

Verizon Wireless International Long Distance Plan
-Select country to view discounted per minute rates

Google Voice
- Gives you a CONUS phone number for people to
call while you are overseas
- Free US long distance, free voicemail feature

MagicJack
- Take the MagicJack Plus™ with you when you
travel outside of the country and you will have free
calls back to the U.S. and Canada. No matter
where you are in the world.
- All calls to the U.S. and Canada are free.

AT&T
International Calling Plans Comparison
(US landline long distance plans)
- Select country and compare rates 
International Calling Plan
(World Connect - US wireless long distance plan)
-Select country to view discounted per minute rates
International Long Distance Messaging 
- $ 0.25 to send and $0.20 to receive
-The International Long Distance Messaging Plan:
Friends and family in the US can send 100 texts to
more than 200 countries for $10.00. $0.20 for each
message over 100.
- Messaging rates vary by plan.

TextPlus
- Free messaging with other textPlus users worldwide
   & free text to any US or Canadian mobile number
- Compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows phones

Viber
- Free calls, texts, and picture sharing using your data plan
- Compatible with Apple, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry
- Instantly integrates with your own contact list

TELEVISION NETWORKING for VIEWING U.S. PROGRAMMING

StrongVPN
Here’s a subscription service that makes
your IP address appear as a US IP address
when you log on. Use this service to
watch the standard networks (CBS, ABC and NBC)
plus NFL games. There are several packages to
choose from, including one that costs about $55.00.



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