Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Instant messaging and video chat make it easier for hobby groups and friends to stay in touch.

If you're trying to organise a meeting or other event with friends or associates, it can be time-consuming and frustrating trying to speak to everyone individually when they are available, and to pass on messages between parties that could soon become outdated.

Skype video conferencing facilities offer a convenient alternative for groups of all types, allowing you to connect to as many people as are free at any one time and discuss whatever's on your mind. Video conferencing may have originated as a tool for businesses to make meetings, seminars and presentations simpler, but it's now being increasingly embraced by people for organising meet-ups and other aspects of their social lives.

Skype video calls and instant messaging mean an end to circulating emails or checking community group websites, and if you're happy for the people in your Pilates class, yoga group, sports club or dramatic society to have your contact details, this can be a great way to disseminate information to many people simultaneously, and to develop friendships further outside of these environments. If you prefer a level of anonymity, or to keep your personal life separate from group activities, you only have to create a new Skype identity.

Because Skype is the world's largest international telecommunications carrier, it's easy to keep in touch with people wherever they are in the world, so you can take part in a video chat with friends and group members even if you're unable to meet in person. This could help you save the costs and time involved in travel, if meetings can be conducted over broadband connections involving people in disparate locations. If your group meetings are instructional in nature, you could soon get accustomed to giving tutorials over Skype as if the people were in the room with you, without having to arrange a meeting space or hire a venue.

Video chat isn't the only benefit for groups that Skype offers either, as all users are able to make free voice calls and use the video chat facility for free when talking to other Skype users. Instant messenger in particular can be a less intrusive and more relaxed way to interact with people you may not know so well, and for certain hobby groups such as creative writing groups or fan clubs, face-to-face or voice communication may not be so necessary. Instant messenger can also be used as a supplement to a video or voice chat, allowing users to talk privately outside of the main conversation without causing interruptions.

With Skype, you can also share files in real-time more easily than having to deal with clumsy email attachments, and this can speed up discussions and activities by ensuring that everyone has access to materials. If you're setting up or running any type of community group, consider whether Skype could ease the burden of organising meet-ups and sharing information. You can add an easy-to-use 'Skype Me' button to your group's website to share your contact details and encourage members to get involved.

Jesse Wallace writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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Skype is a software-based communications platform that offers high-quality, easy-to-use tools for both consumers and businesses to communicate and collaborate globally through voice, video and text conversations. Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg, our mission is to be the communications platform of choice around the world. We enable users with virtually any Internet-connected device to communicate with each other by voice, video and instant message for free, or make low cost voice calls to fixed or mobile numbers virtually anywhere in the world. We had 124 million average monthly connected users for the three months ended June 30, 2010 and our users placed 95 billion calling minutes over Skype in the first half of 2010, approximately 40% of which were video. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at Access to a broadband Internet connection is required. Skype is not a replacement for traditional telephone service and cannot be used for emergency calling. Skype Connect is meant to complement existing traditional telephone services used with a corporate PBX, not as a stand-alone solution. Skype Connect users need to ensure all calls to emergency services are terminated through traditional telephone services. Skype, associated trademarks and logos and the “S” symbol are trademarks of Skype Limited.
Sara Varnell
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LBi is a global marketing and technology agency blending strategic, creative, media and technical expertise to build business value. We help companies of all shapes and sizes decide what’s next for their business – and then we take them there. Along with our media arm bigmouthmedia we define and execute transformational digital strategies for our clients. Across our 24 offices in 16 countries, there are more than 1,800 digital specialists collaborating with brands to enrich people’s lives via service design, branded content, mobile, CRM and social media. We also set the pace in digital display, search affiliate marketing, usability and analytics. There are many things that make LBi unique but if we had to choose one it would be our ability to bring together diverse teams of experts to suit any brief. We call this blending, and it’s the reason why all types of organisations – from famous global business to disruptive start-ups – choose LBi to help make their brands desirable wherever, whenever and however people choose to engage with them.


Instant messaging and video chat make it easier for hobby groups and friends to stay in touch.



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