Skype saved my relationship. I know that this is a bold statement to make, that internet software could actually save a personal relationship, but it did. I recently made the life changing decision to move to France for five months. I would leave behind a boyfriend, friends, and family to venture to the other side of the world. Without Skype, I would not have been able to communicate as effectively and easily as I otherwise would have. Skype enabled me to talk with loved ones on a daily basis without worrying about expensive international rates, and video chat allowed me to talk and connect with friends as if we were having a face-to-face conversation.
Downloading and subscribing to Skype is easy, fast, and free (skype.com). No equipment is needed for the online chat, however a headset is essential for voice chat and a webcam and headset are necessary for video chat. Today, a user friendly webcam can be bought for less then $40 and a headset can be purchased for as little as $10. Some of the most popular brands of webcams are Logitech, Microsoft, and Creative Labs; and some of the most popular brands of headsets are Plantronics and Logitech. Though Skype-to-Skype connections are free of charge, Skype does also offer users the ability to make local, long-distance, and international calls from a Skype account to a landline or cell phone. These calls can be placed for a fraction of the price that most telephone companies offer (international calls made from a Skype account cost about 2.1¢ per minute).
Though I used Skype for personal reasons, Skype could also work well in the business environment. Skype’s online chat could be used as Windows Live and AOL Instant Messenger are in the office. These chat tools allow employees to easily carry on continuous conversations with co-workers without ever having to leave their desks. Skype’s video chat could be used to conduct video conferences or presentations between employees in and out of the physical office space. Additionally, international businesses could economically benefit from the low long-distance or international rates that Skype offers.
Whether it’s used for business or pleasure, Skype has really innovated online communication in the digital age. So go out there and try it, and see how Skype can work for you in your life.