Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Nice Gestures from Skype

Like lots of people with friends and family scattered around the world, video calls via Skype are a really valuable thing to me.  Video calling is the most amazing and useful thing. It's a service that brings near people and events that are far. Age doesn't matter.

I have friends and family that I regularly talk to on Skype that are both young and old alike. United by the discovery of how useful Skype is.  I've had friends show off new babies not yet 24 hours old,  had friends' children show off their drawings / toys / reading skills,  and I've shared all manner of disasters and delights with friends and family.  Skype is responsible for new family vocabulary too: setting up Skype-dates, or Sunday Skype-age as it's become known with my brothers in Australia, are moments in the week I cherish and look forward to, especially now that the latest Skype release permits multi-way calls, and I can voice Skype (at least) where- ever I am via the Android App on my phone.

I love the way that Skype has transformed our expectations of keeping in touch.  I have a South African friend that until recently was living in London, and her 2 year old daughter talked to her grandparents regularly via Skype, and that's what calls meant to her - video, being able to see and talk.  So when one day her Granny was on the (regular) telephone, she clasped the handset to her arm to show her Gran where she'd hurt herself.  In her 2 year old mind calls are visual, it's just those of us with a few more years on the clock that will recall a time when telephones meant calling fixed places, voice to voice only.

Anyway, back to Skype, which suffered a service out-age just before Christmas that had Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree. Personally it didn't affect me at the time, but I understand how frustrating it may have been for others that were.  Full marks therefore to Skype who just sent me an email with a voucher code for Skype-out credit and an apology.   A smart and very nice goodwill gesture that's much appreciated and will no doubt go someway to making those that were miffed feel better, and also encourage trial for those people that have only ever used Skype to Skype calling (which is free), enticing them to use Skype for regular calls.

Good stuff Skype. Nicely done, and nicely timed ahead of the New Year rush to wish friends and family a Happy 2011.

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