Social Networking 101

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Love Actually

In late 2003, Todd Ruback, 47, a divorced attorney living in New Jersey, was looking at profiles on when a phrase on one of them caught his eye: "By the way, I am hilarious."

The woman, Suzanne Schecter, also 47, noticed that Ruback had checked out her profile. After a year of online dating, the freelance TV producer, who was also divorced, was about to call it quits, but she decided to e-mail Ruback. He wrote her back with an "incredibly sweet" message, and soon the two were talking regularly on the phone.

Their first meeting -- five weeks after that initial contact -- was a coffee date that turned into a long walk through Central Park and eventually dinner. "It was a perfect day," Ruback recalls.

They got engaged a year later on vacation in St. Bart's. "We were swimming in the ocean," says Schecter, "and I just looked at him and said, 'Isn't it time?'"

They were married the following year, on September 18, 2005, in a small ceremony at her parents' apartment surrounded by family and close friends. Did Schecter live up to her own billing? "Absolutely," says Ruback. "She's so funny -- I married the next Lucille Ball."

Can It Bring My Family Closer?

Once a week Kate Monaghan and her two kids sit at the family computer at home in San Francisco while Kate's dad is at his computer in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the four of them talk to each other face to face. How? Over the Internet, using a webcam with sound capabilities. Not all computers come with a webcam, but many now have one built directly into the monitor. If your computer doesn't, you can buy a separate webcam and hook it up quite easily. To have a two-way conversation, both parties need to download a free program like Skype or Windows Live Messenger.

Continued on page 4:  How Do I Socialize Online?


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