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To Skype or Not to Skype Is the Question

There is a right time and a right place for everything, including video calls.

My friend Donna got a new computer so that she could Skype with her daughter while she’s away at college.

Skype is a software application that enables you to make calls over the Internet. You can call anyone, anywhere in the world, and talk for free. One of its most popular features is video calling that allows you to see the person with whom you are conversing. They, in turn, can also see you. You just need a computer with a broadband connection, built-in video camera, microphone and speakers, or a separate webcam. For anyone old enough to remember, it’s just like what they had in the old Jetsons cartoon.

The future is now.

Advancements in technology seem to happen at the speed of light. No sooner do you buy a new computer, smart phone or television, something bigger, better and faster is introduced on the market. Your hot new piece of technology is on its way to becoming obsolete the minute you leave the store with it.

Sometimes a piece of technology comes along that seems so brilliant that you can’t fathom how you ever lived without it. Imagine how inconvenient life would be without indoor plumbing or if horses and carriages were still our only means of transportation. How would we watch the Steelers play every week without television?

Technology is an incredible, fabulous and a wonderful thing most of the time.

Occasionally it isn’t.

This, I found, is the case with Skype. Sure, it’s a brilliant way for my friend to keep in touch with her daughter. She can see her face-to-face on her monitor and assure herself that her baby is doing well all those miles away from home. It enables grandparents to easily visit with their grandchildren across the miles. It’s also fine in a business setting, when you’re dressed for success, your hair is combed and styled, and you’ve applied whatever makeup or grooming products you choose for a day at the office.

It doesn’t work so well, however, when you’re sitting in your kitchen in your pajamas, hair uncombed and toothpaste dribbled down your front.

I have a Skype account, but I have never used it. When my friend told me about her new computer and her intent to use Skype, I figured my day had arrived. I would finally be able to make a video call just like in The Jetsons.

My friend lives quite a few miles away from me and, though we communicate fairly regularly via email and Facebook, we rarely see each other. You know how it is when you get together with a friend you haven’t seen in a while -- you want to look your best. I should have taken this into consideration when we set up our Skype call for a Sunday night. By this point at the end of a weekend that often includes yard work, exercising, cooking, cleaning and running errands, I’m usually exhausted, ready for bed and I am most definitely not dressed to impress.

At the designated time of the call, I was in a bind. I was in my pajamas, my hair was a mess and I wasn’t wearing a stitch of makeup. This was not exactly how I wanted my friend to see me and certainly not how I would look if we were doing one of our usual activities such as meeting for lunch or a day of shopping.

I could think of only one solution. My friend, in the same bind, followed suit. The result is pictured above.

This was not our finest moment.

I can’t stop the advances in technology, nor do I want to. I love the convenience it affords and the excitement of being able to do something that was previously unimaginable—bring on the flying cars!

Skype is amazing when used at the right time and in the right place, but as my friend and I learned, Sunday night in my family room is neither.

Rachel August 18, 2011 at 03:27 PM
I actually haven't tried Skype yet, but I've been playing around on Facebook and using Video Chat Rounds (http://apps.facebook.com/chatrounds/ ) to talk to my daughter who lives in California. It's just amazing to be able to talk to someone for free -- and also see their face. I still can't get over it.
Leslie Uriss Spehar August 21, 2011 at 07:56 PM
I know! The advancements in technology are just awe inspiring. Being able to not only talk to your daughter in CA, but also see her is a wonderful result of these types of programs.

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