what would have been the death of skype is now its salvation. facebook launched its ‘videocalling‘ today (most likely because ‘videoconferencing‘ was already taken by this guy – which is a story in itself!)
skype’s collaboration with facebook benefits both companies. i can now video chat someone as easily as i can fb message them, meaning i’ll likely never use standalone skype again because the only people i’d want to watch me talk to them are already friends on facebook.
but videocalling shouldn’t be simply seen as the mother of all distractions from actual work. videocalling has the potential to be a very time effective tool for scholars, as instant video communication with trusted colleagues can allow scholars to discuss articles, relay visual information, and will be especially helpful for language studies involving pronunciations and languages that do not use western characters and therefore do not lend themselves to easy transcription into digital fonts. and as soon as group video chat is launched (standalone skype already does this), colleagues can hold meetings and plan conferences right over facebook. and did i mention the service is free? (for now…)
now, i’m just waiting for the first documented case of, “omg! i accidentally left my fb videochat on and he saw me naked / watched me eat / heard me fart / saw me dancing to justin beiber / heard me laughing at student essay answers while grading” or, worse yet, “my wife saw me working on that article while i was talking to her.”