My parents are polar opposites when it comes to technology. My mother is a computer engineer and my father doesn’t use computers or tech much unless its to send emails at work or make calls on his cell phone. There is one thing that both of my parents are very good at though, and that’s video chatting using Skype. My entire family and I all use Skype and we love it! Let me tell you why.
Skype is the easiest way to communicate with people around the world. This helps me a lot personally for many reasons. My mother and her family are from Caracas, Venezuela while my father’s side of the family has members all over the country, Virginia, Los Angeles, Boston, and probably more cities and states that I can immediately recall. My brother is currently enrolled in the Semester At Sea program. He is literally on a boat, traveling around the world. And it’s not just family, its my friends, who are scattered across the country, across the world! Paris, Spain and China. Thing is, it doesn’t matter, because I see them all the time. Thank God for Skype.
It’s funny, because if you put your video chat on full screen, it literally looks like they are in the room, right in front of you. My mom, the engineer, hooked up a video camera to her big screen, HDTV – so when I video chat with my parents at their place in Boston, I am literally in the room. Just the other night, my aunt was at their apartment, and I got to see her, see them, larger than life. Isn’t this the damn future? How insane is that? It reminds me of this book I read for a class in high school about globalization, and how the boundaries of the world have been broken by the need for international trade. It’s the same with the need for communication. Whether we like it or not, we are a global community, and that ain’t cheap. Do you know how much it costs to make a phone call to South America? Well, I don’t because I use Skype. I don’t know about landlines, but using Skype, it literally costs less than 3 cents a minute to make a phone call to my family in Caracas, Venezuela.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d pay anything to talk to or see the people I love most. I’m using my situation as a small example of the big picture, and the big picture is that the landscape of global communication is changing. It wasn’t too long ago that we were confined by landlines and expensive internally calling plans. Today, we can use services like Skype to affordably communicate with people around the world, whether they’re family, friends or business associates. It really is a lifesaver. It’s not just our bloodlines that benefit from this innovative service, it’s also the world of business. Why spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to physically travel around the world to establish business relationships when we can pay literally nothing to welcome them in our living room?
It’s more than that, though. I just moved to New York from Boston and I miss my friends and family all the time. If you’re like me, you don’t really use your phone to talk anymore, it’s all about text messaging. I personally didn’t want to call my friends on the phone every time I wanted to talk to them. Instead, we have so-called ‘Skype dates’ where set a time to video chat. This totally beats out alternatives like talking on the phone or sending picture messages. For instance, my friend Kelly recently got a dog and the thing looked so damn cute in pictures, but to see her and the dog right in front of me using video was way better than any single picture frame. With Skype, I can have her over for a drink without getting on a four-hour bus or train ride.
Another thing is that I always leave my Skype signed in, so people can just call me whenever they want. My cell phone is like an emergency only situation – I really don’t like talking on the phone if you can’t tell. When I told my dad the other night that I was going to write about video chatting, he mentioned that he grew up watching Star Trek and compared Skyping to hailing (the video chat used in the show). He hit the nail right on the head, that’s what this is. When I leave my account on and someone calls me, it’s like I’m being hailed. It truly is fantastic. I’m going to wrap this up with what I think is a very appropriate quote.
“Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service.”
(The Tempest, 3.1.60-3)
Until next time… stay tuned!