Being part of a family takes a lot of work: keeping in touch with everyone, planning a wedding, working on your marriage, becoming a parent, and caring for your loved ones old and young can be a challenge greater than one person can handle. We've put together a collection of Web sites that can act as a family counselor, genealogist, storyteller, long-lost friend or relative finder, and even personal organizer.
Researching your genealogy is about more than becoming your family's own private detective. Your ... read more »
Sure, we all get busy with work, school, kids, and everything else life throws our way. But if the once-a-year holiday greeting doesn't provide enough opportunity to brag about your family's (or your own) accomplishments, there are plenty of online resources that can help you stay in touch all year round.
- One of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep in touch with family is through e-mail. Plenty of Web sites offer free e-mail: Yahoo!, Hotmail, and GMail are just a few examples.
- Many newer sites have video demonstrations that you can watch to help you get started using the various features.
- Lots of sites offer free trials—take advantage of them.
- Starting a Web log (or "blog") is a great way to keep your family up to date about your life. You can set up a blog that everyone in your family can add to, and many sites will host your blog for free. For more information see our findingDulcinea Blogs Web Guide.
- Some of the more popular video-sharing Web sites can be a great way to send videos to friends and family without clogging up their e-mail inboxes. Sites such as YouTube and MetaCafe let you upload and share your videos for free.
- Think about your family's privacy when posting photos or information online.
To help organize your family ...
is a hub for all of your different obligations in life. Keep track of family, work, group, and other obligations and activities. AirSet allows you to send messages to members of your groups and view a calendar of all your activities as well as share Web links and other useful information. You can also share one activity or event with another group (for example, share a work meeting with your family group so they will know where you are). The main service is free, but to get AirSet with your mobile phone requires a monthly fee.
is a family manager to the extreme. Share and manage shopping lists, create a family calendar, and utilize the task and chore manager. Find local movie listings, shopping and travel resources, as well as weather, news, and sports. Cingo has a 30-day free trial; yearly membership is $29.99 and lifetime membership is $99.99.
for Families is a way to organize your family's schedule. Community organizations can sign up with Famundo for free and put up schedules and information. When a family signs up for Famundo (free for 60 days, then $99/year) they can upload the schedules from organizations they belong to, or add events to their calendar on their own (events are color-coded for each family member). Keep track of important events and birthdays, make and track lists, leave messages, and store files on the site.
To create a centralized site for your family to connect ...
lets you create a family tree (complete with pictures and contact information) and put it on your blog. Each family member can create a profile page with photos, bio information, as well as any other stories or information they'd like to share. You can create a family calendar, import from other photo storage sites (like Flickr), and link your photos through "albums" so that other members of your family can see them. Get a 30-day free trial, then pay $49.95 per year.
will help you create a Tumblelog, a simplified version of a blog. As Tumblr says, "if blogs are journals, tumblelogs are scrapbooks." Tumblr makes it easy to integrate text, photos, and videos to get your message across.
is an international site helping families to connect. Build your family tree, upload photos, send your family messages, and so forth. This site is not as easy to use as some of the other family-connecting sites, but would work for families that are located in different countries or that speak more than one language, as Zooof is available in more than 30 languages.
is a way to interact with your friends and family online. It is an e-mail, chat, music, photo, and file storage and sharing site. You determine who can look at your photos and your Jubii page; you also choose whose e-mails are given priority. Although a lot of other sites provide elements found on Jubii, this site brings those different components together in one platform.
To share photos or videos with family ...
allows you to store and share your digital photos with family and friends. You can organize your photos in all sorts of innovative ways, even by putting them by location on a map. Sometimes more interesting than your own photos though, are the photos of other users on Flickr. Because you can choose to make your photos public or private, the public photos are available for viewing by anyone on the site. Just search by keyword if you are looking for a picture of, say, a bumblebee—you'll probably be able to find one. If you have any questions, the Flickr tour should help you get started.
not only stores photos for you to share with your friends and family, it stores and shares your videos as well. You can even use Photobucket to create slideshows and remixes of your photos, and as a host for videos that you've posted on other sites.
The Kodak EasyShare Gallery
allows you to e-mail people a link to a slideshow of whatever photos you'd like to share with them. You can order prints (or other fun photo keepsakes like mugs, calendars, or T-shirts), and store your digital photos online at the gallery.
caters even to those of us that haven't made the transition to digital film; you can send in rolls of your regular film to Snapfish for developing and they will send you back the prints and negatives a few days later. As an added bonus, the film that you send in will also be scanned so that you can view and share the pictures online as well as order new prints any time you like without leaving your computer.
is a video mail site. The homepage will immediately prompt you to begin recording a video e-mail that you can then send to your friends and family-a good way to communicate with someone far away from home. This site can also be read in French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Chinese.
To find long-lost friends or relatives ...
Where Are You Now?
is a site dedicated to helping you track the friends you meet on your travels and keep in touch with them. It is also a travel guide for different cities and countries. Meet new people who will be traveling where you are, or keep in touch with old contacts from previous travels.
searches for people on the "deep Web"-the underlying content that other search engines miss. Enter the first and last name, city, state, and country (United States or Canada), or as much of that information as you have. Pipl will give you results that first include all of your search criteria and then widen to the name within the state, then within the country. Results include newspaper articles, user profiles from social networking sites, public records, and more.
is "a search engine for people." Find other people by name or by common interest. Wink scours social networking sites like linkedin.com
to compile your results. It might be better to use this site to find people with common interests, as its search technology seems to miss individuals when you search by full name.
To get together with friends and family ...
is a site designed to help you get together with your friends more often and organize your life better. You can invite a group of your friends to a specific event using Renkoo or you can figure out the details as you go along (choose a specific day to get together or put it up for a vote). Chat with your friends online or send them a text message through this site.
lets you create and send free, customized e-mail party invitations and then tracks RSVPs for you. This site also has tips and tools to help you plan your party or event.
is a social networking site designed to help you meet people in real life and online. Set up networks of friends or family on the site, then use your cell phone to send text messages to the site when you are going out: the site will then tell your networks where you are going and let you know if any of your friends are within 10 blocks of your location.
is for those want to do is get the upper hand on a competitive relative. Its sole purpose is to let you make claims (for example, "I am the greatest basketball player of all time") and let other users vote on the credibility of your boast.
allows you to access almost any of your instant messaging programs from any location. You won't have to install any new software to use Meebo-especially valuable when you are traveling or not on your home computer.
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