Why Isn’t Skype the Most Popular Thing on the Planet?

adrielI just can’t get how few people actually use Skype. And I’m coming at this from a major metro area where everybody has broadband.

Or maybe it’s because we’re in a major metro area that we don’t have a need to communicate by video phone with our far-flung friends and families?

All my childhood, the Holy Grail of technology was the video phone. Now it’s here and free, and hugely underused in the U.S.

Why?

I’d also like to see Skype or similar tech used to increase public participation in public meetings. By this I mean increasing the breath of people participating, getting soccer moms and Dow dads in on the action from home after the kids are abed. Participation in governance builds trust, and this tech is well-suited.

And is it really true that Skype has no marketing plan?

(Bonus: You can use also TokBox w/out a download to send video mails, made video calls, and vlog. With both of these tools you can also do free videoconferences with people around the world.)

6 thoughts on “Why Isn’t Skype the Most Popular Thing on the Planet?

  1. I’ve been using Skype for years, for business and personal.

    I’m also a member of a business network and just about every member uses Skype.

    So usage is going to vary wherever you go.

    Skype got bought out by eBay, who also bought StumbleUpon, both of which have languished under their feckless stewardship.

    Also, some corporate customers have resisted using Skype because their use proprietary protocols, rather than existing (and in some respects better) open protocols.

  2. My aging parents are a good example of the Skype-gap. It’s the damn installation of the video camera!

    The Skype camera (whatever brand) should have an autorun software (like the Flip video camera) that just installs the latest version of Skype and auto-configures the account and, Presto! the video (and Skype) just works.

    Instead, poor Dad goes to BestBuy (Geek Squad) twice and gets frustrated by the simple USB camera configuration.

    Another Skype myth that I see in my small business counseling role is the perception that Skype is not “secure” enough for business communications.

  3. Now, you be nice you whipper-snappers! ;-> My almost-elderly sister (age 63) in northern Cyprus and I (age 52) are writing a book together and we Skype every morning Central time using cheap Logitech webcams. We think it’s the best thing since proverbial sliced bread. It can get a little annoying in that it dumps us out every 30 minutes or so, but that could be anything from here to there, I can’t blame Skype. The three or four times in the last six months I got the Windows XP blue screen of death, I was in Skype and it seemed to be a weird webcam driver error that a reboot fixed. The Skype connection can be volatile, do you think people accustomed to stable environments get discouraged and simply don’t hang in there and try again?

  4. I’m a new user of Skype (less than 1 month). I bought a webcam recently to “visit” with my daughter and see the grandkids. It’s amazing how easy it was for me to get started and we’ve (my wife and I) been enjoying the opportunity to see them even though they’re a relatively short distance away. It saves us time driving the 40 minutes each way. We can visit with them more often and see the new born (2 weeks old).

    My daughter has been using Skype for sometime to communicate with friends. She was the one of that prompted me to get the webcam and use Skype.

    So far Skype has been working just fine for us and its free.

  5. I used Skype for the first time tonight, for a business call with an associate. It was a little unnerving and quite frankly, I was distracted by the video. I think it took us longer to cover all the issues. That said, he’s been using Skype for at least a year, as a consultant in Dubai, where he says everyone uses Skype all the time. I think for me it’s a matter of getting used to the format.

    Secondly, I work from home and am not always business presentable, so I can see myself running to the bathroom to shave before a conference call.

    But I’m very excited about trying it out with family that I rarely see.

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