You've got e-mail; Snail mail was never like this. Now, in an instant, you can write to friends and family the world over.
It's so simple, fast and fun. You type out a message on your computer screen, fill in the e-mail address of the person you want to send a message to, click the send button and seconds later it will arrive in their e- mail box.
It just like the normal post system (or "snail mail" as those already converted to email affectionately refer to it) except it arrives much, much quicker and it's cheaper than chattering on the phone.
It doesn't matter where in the world you send your e-mails, they are charged at local call rates. All you pay is a local call rate for the time it takes to send the information down the line - usually just a few seconds.
Just imagine. You'll be able to keep in constant contact with all your relatives wherever they live in the UK or abroad, with friends and family working in exotic locations around the globe, your new best friends you meet on holidays as well as the whole world people you're about to become friends with on the Internet.
Once you get the hang of sending basic messages, you can get more adventurous and send messages with attachments - pictures, funny things you've downloaded from the Internet or even formal documents.
You will then join the massive family of e-mailers who have great fun sending each other hilarious things they have come across on the Web. You can even send the same e-mail to a whole list of friends with one press of the send button.
Imagine how easy those girls nights out will be to arrange in future. One quick message to all concerned, a quick press of the button and its organised - no more engaged telephone lines.
Or how about getting in touch with all the guys from your local football team in one message to let them know the upcoming fixtures and meeting points.
Organising a family do? No problem. Write one quick note and send it to everyone with one press of the button.
You'll need an e-mail address of your own. Register with ic24 and you will get FIVE free e-mail address. Get your friends and family to join ic24, too, and then you can all keep in constant touch.
E-mail is everywhere now, and its getting bigger by the day. The number of users is expected to reach half a billion plus in the next couple of years.
It has become such a huge part of everyday life, from keeping in touch with friends and family to the fastest and most efficient way to communicate in the business world.
As Bob Hoskins didn't quite say: It's good to double-click.
Now, inevitably, e-mails have hit the big screen. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, last seen together in Sleepless in Seattle, are the stars of You've Got Mail, the remake of the 1940 hit The Shop Around the Corner.
The theme: Two business rivals, working in different bookshops, cannot stand each other in person.
On the Net, however, where they do not know the reality of their secret correspondent, they fall in love. The computer conquers all. All together now: aaaaaah.
It's not just in the movies. Theoretically at least, an e-mail relationship means that personality can at last be more important than looks.
The news pages are littered with stories of those who have found happiness - or at least gone up the aisle together - after meeting on the Net.
It's the new hi-tech dating game, the modern day equivalent of those endless romantic Victorian notes swapped between lovers.
Brief little electronic notes can be endlessly exchanged - dozen of times a day, if need be. Instant contact, at the touch of a button - with endless possibilities for romance.
But love is not all you'll find in your e-mail box. There are hundreds of e-mail services. You can have news updates sent to you regularly from football clubs and other sports organisations, fan clubs, news and special offers from shopping organisations and information from lots of useful organisations such as womens networks.
You can join online clubs with your e-mail address and have their newsletter e-mailed direct to you.
IN fact, virtually anything you have sent in the post can be sent electronically or accessed electronically. But instead of being the last to know about special offers, bargains and things to make life easier, you'll be one of the first.
There's no need to worry about SPAM, the electronic version of junk mail, as systems are so sophisticated these days you can block unsolicited mail from your mailbox. Keeping in touch is so much easier online.
Tom Hanks admits he first got online because of You've Got Mail. "I wasn't entirely a `newbie' but I wasn't far away - I used computers as really, really expensive typewriters," he says.
"Now I've started using it for checking on news headlines - and e-mail. I'm in for the long-haul now - e-mail is far more convenient than the telephone and, as far as I'm concerned, you can throw my phone away
"You can compose your thoughts carefully and review them before sending them off. It's incredibly time-efficient."
Comedienne Jenny Eclair just couldn't imagine being without access to e- mail and the Internet.
The star, whose show Jenny Eclair's Private Function show started on Channel 5 last night, says: "I send e-mail and use the Internet practically every day. I found it especially useful for researching my new show.
"I've been surfing for information on the guests that are coming on the show- I'll probably find out all kinds of things that they wouldn't want me to know.
"In fact I understand that there are 70 different sites just on me, but I'm scared to look at them. I even did an IQ test on the Net and came out with a score of 162. And I check the Fortune Cookie for the day, too!
"I've found it all extremely useful. At the moment, I'm consulting the net to find out how to remove red wine stains from a white wall. Somehow I sloshed it onto it."
Actor Chris O'Donnell - Robin to George Clooney's Batman - recently got online for the first time.
He says: "I can't believe what's out there - so much about so much. My favourites are the MTV website and the fan chatlines - and, yes, I looked at what they were saying about me.
"I learned they were debating whether my girlfriend was good-looking or not. Now I check in all the time."
The Artist (formerly known as Prince) tends to keep his opinions to his reclusive self, but is clearly enthusiastic about the Internet.
He says: "When I'm not on the road, I go online three or four times a week, partly to check out the Love 4 One Another website. But I also like the news sections.
"It also lets me find out who's trading in bootleg tapes and CDs of my music - I understand their existence but I don't agree with buying and selling stolen property.
"When I broke with Warner Bros, I was able to explore new ways of distributing my music and the Internet figures hugely in my plans."
"My label, NPG Records, will give away a lot of old and new music over the Internet in the near future."
Children's TV presenter Kirsten O'Brien, who also fronts the radio show The Edge for the BBC World Service, says: "I tend to use the Internet about four times a week at work. When I was going to interview George Clooney, I called up a celebrity site to find out all about him so that I knew which questions to ask him. I find it very useful for that kind of thing.
"I also plan my holidays on the Net from the travel websites."
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||May 3, 1999|
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