This semester, I have been doing something I’ve never done before. … Actually, I have been doing a lot of novel somethings this semester, but as that is the overarching topic of most of this blog, I will be more specific: I have been Skyping.
I downloaded the video conferencing and messaging app on my laptop/tablet (or as I refer to it, my laptab) earlier this year when I found out I was moving to Indiana to attend Purdue. It was actually my dad’s idea, so we could keep in touch. It wasn’t until September that I finally used the app, though — and I didn’t Skype with my family. I Skyped with my professor from The University of Alabama (yes, the “The” is supposed to be capitalized because apparently some higher-up decided “the University of Alabama” was too generic; it should be The University of Alabama).
But over the summer, I started a research project with my professor, Dr. Seigfried-Spellar (aka Dr. Kate), a project that was not completed by the time I got ready to leave Alabama. However, we have been able to continue our research together because of Skype. Each week, on Friday morning, we have a Skype meeting and go over our data, running analyses and figuring out what it tells us. This is much better than a simple phone call for a couple of reasons: 1) Skype is free, so neither one of us has to worry about using up all our phone minutes during our typically hour-long meetings, and 2) Skype’s video conferencing capability allows for a virtual face-to-face meeting; because I have two laptops, I can angle the one running Skype so that Dr. Kate can see the data on SPSS, which I run on my larger laptop. This has enabled us to continue our research, which I will be presenting at the ACJS conference in Orlando in March of next year.
Along with these weekly meetings, I have also Skyped with a couple of my friends from home a few times. I was able to show off my new apartment and mad decorating/crafting skills, and more importantly, I was able to actually see my friends. A phone conversation is great, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a live-streaming video must be worth a million.