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Video Chat

Monday, August 25, 2008
It astounds me in this day and age of ubiquitous internet access that more people don't use video chat. I feel like I've been using video chat in one form or another for at least five or six years now, and yet it's barely taken off at all.

Studies have shown that communication is less than 10% verbal; the other 90% is non-verbal clues. That means that it's not so much what you say but how you say it. Wouldn't it make sense to include as much context in a conversation as possible? One of the reasons I hate talking on the phone is that I can't look at someone. I'm staring off into space imagining the person I'm talking to, but all I get is a scratchy voice on the other end of my phone.

With video chat, however, I see the person. I can make eye contact (sort of) but I can see if they look bored, excited, engaged, tired, etc. I don't have to make a guess. Furthermore, it removes a lot of the ambiguity from the conversation. It just makes sense to use it!

Programs have existed for video chat for years and years. AOL Instant Messenger has a built-in video chat function. iChat for the Mac (which communicates over AIM) has even nicer and more intuitive functionality. Skype does video chat well, too... and these are just some low-end computer-to-computer functions. I've seen businesses prosper because they find a way to communicate face-to-face over the distances.

In the meantime, should you wish to, you can reach me on Skype under the username burtonsimmons or on iChat, where my .Mac username is burtonsimmons@mac.com. Talk to you there!

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