Over the months I discovered a few ways to stay in touch with my deployed Soldier with my Blackberry cell phone. Some of these may also apply to other smartphones like Apple iPhones.
Using these Blackberry applications helps me communicate with my son at any time that he happens to be on the Internet. I don’t have to be at my computer which is a big relief. For example, one day I was out for a walk and had a chat with my son via my Blackberry while walking.
Without these Blackberry applications, I would miss out on chats like that. I never know when he will be online – all kinds of strange hours of the day and night so I like to be prepared!
- Facebook – If you and your Soldier have a Facebook account, you can subscribe via SMS to your Soldier’s status updates. This is cool because the moment my deployed son updates his Facebook status, I get a text message to my phone. From the text message, I can reply with “Like” to “Like” the status, or leave a comment. The advantage of “Like” is that I also get any subsequent comments that he or others make on his status. In order to receive any comments that follow, you must have the Facebook application on your Blackberry.
To set up Facebook SMS subscriptions, log into your Facebook account and go to Account >Account Settings. Click the Mobile tab. Once you have that set up correctly, go to your Soldier’s Facebook profile page. Under the profile picture, click “Subscribe via SMS”.If you set it up correctly, the next time your Soldier’s updates their Facebook status, you will get a text message to your smartphone!
- Email – There are many email applications you can use your Blackberry. I use both Yahoo and Gmail. You can download either to your smartphone. When my son sends me an email, I can read and reply to the email on my phone. It’s been a great convenience. Sometimes our Soldiers are busy so I like to reply right away in case he can’t get back to the computer for awhile. Following are links for more information:
- Google Talk – this is my favorite instant messenger! You can use this if you both have a Google mail account. Just log on from your phone and the “green dot’ tells you that your contacts are available and online. This is how I have chats in real time with my son when I am out and about.
- Yahoo Messenger – works like most instant messenger applications. You can use this if you both have Yahoo mail account. I use this one too. It’s nice to have a back up.
- Skype – if you have a Skype account, you can download it your Blackberry and use Skype mobile. This is new for Blackberry so I have not used it yet. Only the chat feature is available on your smart phone.
I hope this is helpful to you in some way. What other ways have you found to communicate with your Soldier via smart phone? Please share your ideas!
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