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Questions About Skype

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011
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After years of fighting the demons of getting a video camera for my computer I finally got one in December. Then, after years of fighting it because I didn’t have a video camera, then months of thinking about it, I finally got Skype. Now that I’ve created an account I want to ask you, the masses, just what the heck I’m supposed to be doing with it.

To date I’m connected to 5 people. I’ve only talked to three of them, but only two of them by video. I’m glad to have talked to the third person, our friend Vernessa because I wouldn’t have known that you could go totally audio without having to do the video thing. That was really important to me because, well, I tend to heat up in the evenings and sometimes during the day and I’ll sit at the computer without a shirt on. Sure, guys can get away with this, but I like to protect as many people as I can from seeing any of this uncovered; yeah, I know, TMI! lol

Anyway, I now have this Skype account; just what am I supposed to do with it? Before I loaded it I kept hearing from all these people who said they had Skype accounts and wondered if I had one so we could talk. Well, all those people seem to have disappeared. I thought it was the growing thing for business, to be able to talk to people and have them see you while interacting with each other; nope, none of that.

What gives? I assume there’s a bit of etiquette and being protective with this thing, but is there also apathy? Am I late to the game?

I mean, do I put my Skype address in my advertising? Do I list it on my websites, or here on this blog? I’ve never seen anyone else do that, but I’d have to admit that it wasn’t something I paid a lot of attention to in the past. And do you just up and call people if you find their number or do you send email first then wait for them to say “okay, hook me up”?

Frankly I’m stumped. Vernessa said she basically stays on most of the time, but Homegirl, truthfully, the only time I’ve ever seen you on when I’ve had the program open was the one time we talked. I’ve got it open as I write this a day before it’ll post and I don’t see anyone I know on. Then again, it’s only 5 people.

This kind of reminds me of the issues I’ve seen with the Hangout feature on G+. It works great, but only if you can find people to talk to. Supposedly you have to set it up way in advance to talk to people. That’s not such a big deal I suppose, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to work with Skype as well. I just don’t know.

So, for once, I’m asking questions. How do y’all use Skype? Are you using Skype? And what’s the protocol, if any, for getting the word out without inviting all the crazies to hook up with you?
 

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39 Comments »

I’ve started using Skype with webcam around 2005 and at that time it was nightmare as Internet connection was not very fast. Video window size was something like 240×160 pixels. Compatibility of camera with other software was terrible and I’ve always tried to keep drivers up to date. Long time have pass since then and now many people are using it as regular method of communication. First I am calling my friends in my home country, parents too. On the other hand I am using it as business tool contacting other business owners, affiliate managers and I have listed Skype on few of my websites. I am also paying credits to call regular phones and it is much cheaper. Even I can call toll-free numbers in USA for free.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, one of these days we’re going to talk on Skype and I hope we can understand each other’s accents. :-) There was something weird that happened where suddenly there was this Skype plugin on my browser that was showing my Skype number on some of my websites; freaky. Had a friend tell me about it, but I never downloaded it, at least intentionally.

Carl Reply:

Sure Mitch, I think it have to be after Friday, as I will be on a trip and I am a bit afraid of the speed of Internet at this particular hotel, as I have been there twice before. Accent, wow I can tweak my accent. My first teacher was from Newcastle(UK), my 2nd was from Chapel Hill, Alabama, my roommate for around 6 months is from Buffalo, New York and for 2 years in travel industry I have deal with many customers, I found that trying to speak the way they do, make sales easier, wow.

Browser plugin is installed automatically which is good, however I don’t like the toolbar which will be also installed if not careful. Previously I’ve had a bad security issues, exactly coming from this toolbar and I’ve lost some money from my Moneybookers account which I’ve used to pay for Skype credits, but this was long time ago, so I think since Google is the owner now, security is very good.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, we’ll have that conversation when you get back from your vacation and I can get articles to you again. And Buffalo’s fairly close to me; closer than NYC after all. So maybe we’ll talk to each other just fine.

Vernessa Taylor Reply:

I remember those early days! Yuk! Just to duck in about that Skype plugin … it is a piece of crap and if you can figure out how to remove it, do so. It works intermittently, doesn’t bother to ask if you’d like the world to know your Skypename, and I suspect it will introduce more security holes now that it is owned by Microsoft (king of security holes).
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October 13th, 2011 | 9:48 AM

I only use it to talk to clients who don’t want to pay long distance. I don’t even have a camera so there’s no risk of me cracking anyone’s screen :)

I had a couple of overseas clients who loved using Skype. Audio was fine for one and the other just used it as a glorified chat client.

There are some people who seem to just want to talk to whoever, so they stay online all the time. I’ve been at some tech conferences and some of the speakers presentations are constantly interrupted by Skype connect invitations and such.

A friend of mine used to use a feature called “Skype Me”, where he would broadcast that he was available to all comers and just left it wide open for anyone anywhere to connect with him. Many times it would be someone from outside of the U.S. trying to learn English. I’m not sure if this feature is in there anymore.

I don’t advertise it, but I have it in case it’s needed. To me it’s just a handy tool to have to connect with clients, but not something I use as a social network or anything.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

John, this means you don’t advertise the number anywhere so folks can just hook up with you. That works for me for now; thanks. I can’t see me sitting on Skype all the time, but my wife and I did have to learn that once we used it the sucker doesn’t shut down just because you hit the X.

October 13th, 2011 | 11:15 AM

I have Skype and the only person I talk to with it is my brother. Only because he lives in another country and that is the cheapest option to communicate.
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October 13th, 2011 | 4:04 PM

I use Skype for personal purpose only even not for professional purpose. I like to do video calling with my close friends for hours that’s it. I don’t like to hang out with any stranger. But it basically depends on your nature and personal thinking.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Aaron, I don’t think I necessarily want to hang with strangers, but I did want to offer it as a business tool to potential & existing customers.

October 14th, 2011 | 2:34 AM

Hey Mitch, I could have told you that you could use it as a voice only call, if you had only bothered to ask. ;)

I have Skype but I usually don’t have it running in the background. I only have it on when I intend to make a call. Having said that I have used it to talk to family in Italy and I love it. I’ve also used it when I’ve had to talk to some tech person in the States but when I do that I use voice only.

As to placing it on your blogs I would only do it if you wanted to become available to the masses who read your blogs. I personally wouldn’t do it because I’m shy and I prefer to converse via the print media than in person.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Sire, you’d shock people by saying you were shy. lol I’m not shy at all, but without a shirt I’m thinking we don’t need a lot of people getting sick. I know I’m not putting it on my blog, but I thought about my business websites, or even in my email sig file. At the moment I’m a bit hesitant to do it, and I’m thinking that might be the smarter course of action for now.

Sire Reply:

Always go with your gut feeling I always say Mitch.

I know I have a lot to say when I’m blogging but in the real world I am pretty quiet around people I don’t know. I never speak unless spoken to and I’m usually the one standing alone looking uncomfortable.

Put me with people I do know and some say you can’t get me to shut up. ;)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

We’ll have to test that one of these days with our own Skype conversation; that is, if you’ll still be talking to me after a chess whipping! lol

Sire Reply:

Talking via Skype really won’t prove anything because we’re not in the same room and besides we’re kinda mates aren’t we?

As to the chess whipping, I’m pretty sure I manage to hold my own. I was so tempted to use ‘reckon’ then…lol
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

See Sire, I’ve gotten into your head. ;-)

Eren Mckay Reply:

Hey guys (Mitch and Sire)
I have skype!
I’ve been reading your blogs and having text conversations with you for the last two years.
What do you think of adding me on Skype and having a real voice talk with me sometime?
I’d love that! #justsayin hee hee
Hey my skype ID is erenmckay – add me there and tell me it’s you because I get weirdos trying to add me LOL
All the best,
Eren
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Hi Eren,

I’ve added you to my Skype & sent the request, so it’s all on you now. I didn’t know you were in Brazil; what a wonderful world all of this is. :-)

October 14th, 2011 | 3:44 AM

I use Skype chat to keep up with my one affiliate biz…they have a skype chat room and you can read whats been going on for the past week or so. Many affiliates go there to ask questions, so it’s a gtreat place to learn.

I have also used the audio…which freaked Ron out when he walked into the office and I was talking to my computer and it answered me!

We got a new laptop the other day which has video. I got on it, saw how I looked on it, and hightailed it out of there quick-lol!

So the purpose??? I guess that you can chat, or use audio, or video, or……
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carolee, you can go in and follow an old thread? I hadn’t realized that was a function as well; I knew you could leave a message for someone whenever they showed back up. Now that’s something to think about; kind of neat from where I’m sitting.

October 14th, 2011 | 6:22 AM

I’m the wrong person to ask about this because I never used Skype. I assumed it was similar to all other VOIP services, but apparently it has a few differences.
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October 14th, 2011 | 10:29 AM
Allan Douglas:

My wife used to use Skype all the time, not with video, just texting. And my brother got my Mom a camera and set her up with Skype so she could keep up with her baby grand daughter. However, since they got bought out (I *think* it was Microsoft) both have dumped the service as unworkable. So it might not be you, Mitch.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s interesting Allan. I decided to load Skype because my wife and I were trying to communicate via the network that comes with the Logitech cameras and the connection was choppy and uneven. Skype works so much better, but I’d thought it would be more social, kind of like all the social networks that are available. Still, I’m sure it’ll have its purpose.

October 14th, 2011 | 4:16 PM

I use skype only because some of my clients want to talk on skype, frankly I hate skype, yet another thing I need to log in and all that stuff, so I only use it when I really need it. Most people use it as an Instant Message program, I use Yahoo Messenger for that…
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Cristian, I haven’t had many people wanting to talk to me on instant messaging in a very long time so I don’t even think about it anymore, though I probably should. Guess I’m late to the Skype party. lol

October 14th, 2011 | 10:36 PM

Hi Mitch! Like you, I’ve talked to Vernessa on Skype more than anyone else including my daughter. I never use video. You’d be sitting there without your shirt, and I’d be sitting here with my “Aunt Jemina” scarf wrapped around my head (yeah, that’s right only I can call it by that name). LOL!

I don’t keep Skype open so if we ever wanted to chat it we would need to plan ahead. Just send me a tweet next time you’re on and maybe I’ll be around too.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Ileane, we might need to plan a time and get it done. The conversation Vernessa & I had was a long one.

Vernessa Taylor Reply:

Hey Ileane – You in your scarf and me needing one! But I cut my hair down to the natural curl last week (early Nov.) so that won’t an issue. LOL I do soooo enjoy our conversations!
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October 17th, 2011 | 7:29 PM

Hi Mitch. To tell you the truth, I’m not a big fan of Skype. Since it’s good on the video call feature, it can survive the messengers war. That’s what i think. But to think and rate its efficiency level, I don’t think that it’s that friendly. I really hate it. Just to deliver 2 or 3 lines of messages is really hard.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Jake, I haven’t really done much with the instant messaging part. I didn’t even know that part existed until someone else sent out a message. I just hope that the video communications realm hasn’t already passed me by.

October 19th, 2011 | 4:44 AM

Man I feel like I’m just coming up for air. Something’s wrong with my trackback stuff in the WordPress dashboard — I never even saw this link! Before I *really* respond, just want you to know Mitch where I saw your link to my blog: on Technorati!

Yep, I was trying to figure out how people actually use it, saw that Ileane has risen to NUMBER 25 in the Top 100 (go Ileane!), and saw which “Authority Blogs” had linked to me recently. You, my man, have Authority! LOL
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Vernessa, where do I have authority? At least I keep missing it there.

Vernessa Taylor Reply:

Well, what I’m talking about is the “Recent Influential Responses”, as they call it. Technorati profile

I put a pic up on Google+ so you could see it. :)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Wow, look at that; and you’re on top! lol
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November 10th, 2011 | 11:08 AM

I really am on most of the time. I admit, I will log out of it if I have some pressing deadlines or if I am writing something that needs undivided attention. Even then, I’m in and out.

How I use it:

Log in early in morning (when I’m up) for those early risers who either have a quick question or who left a message the night before. Remember: even if someone is not on or not “available,” you can type a message and they will see it when they log in. Log in late (late!) at night for those international conversations.

I use it for client conferences and talking to colleagues, audio only or audio/video combination. (That combination works when it’s me who says “no video” due to bad hair day! LOL) Yes, we could use the telephone, but the key reason to use Skype instead is for ease in sharing . . . easy to share links for quick viewing a site (or use it later after conversation), easy to share files (here’s that PDF!), easy to share screens

Whatever you type or share during the conversation is captured as a “transcript,” which you can save to a document, cut-and-paste into other Skype talks, etc. And Skype saves history indefinitely.

Most of the time, a quick Twitter DM to schedule times works well, or an email. I do have my Skypename on my website (buried a bit to thwart the lazy Skype spammer.) But I share it freely.

Personal?

I attended my youngest grandchild’s birthday party via Skype (as did her auntie and cousins). Couldn’t make it to ATL.

When the family was trying to work out how to help other family affected by Hurricane Irene, I was still in NY. After hours and hours on phone doing logistics, at some point both daughters were in the same city at the same time with all the grandkids. We had an hour-long Skype convo, got to talk to everyone and get updates on the affected family.

I talk to Ileane quite a bit! (But we will talk by cell phone, too. And a few other folk … including YOU. :)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Great ideas for using Skype Vernessa. I have to admit that since I got it and didn’t get to use it much I don’t open it up all that often. Bu tit would be really neat to be able to do so, especially in a business setting.

Vernessa Taylor Reply:

Let me know when you give it a whirl.
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November 10th, 2011 | 11:32 AM

I only use skype for work purpose only. I don’t use it to contact my family or relatives since they don’t have any account in skype. Nice post!. XD
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Angel. At this point I’ve still only used Skype a few times; going to have to figure out how to spread things around a bit more.

January 8th, 2012 | 9:48 PM