Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skyping & IM'ing - Why Insta-Communication is Your Friend & Foe

I'm a Skype-a-holic Skyper and log into Skype every day. I work with a Texas agency and I live in California - makes communication between us a lot easier. Who doesn't love the modern conveniences of insta-communication? Between phone conferences and instant messaging, my world is a constant stream of phrases that include:"Can you Skype conference call at 4pm PDT? or "I'm sending the website link right now via chat."  Skype works great for international calls. I recently talked to a friend in Australia and another colleague in Argentina - not too shabby for not having to pay a dime to use Skype.

In May, Skype added their app so people can use it on 3G networks - another great idea. Or is it? As a Blackberry user, I became frustrated with learning the in's and out's of my Skype app but I worked through the techie hoopla. 

Are these insta-communication online tools really our friends or possibly our foes? TeleGeography reported that 54 billion minutes international call minutes (out of a total of 406 international call minutes) were Skpe-to-Skype international calls. That's a lot of chattiness happening in the world. How much is used for business and how much for pleasure? How many people use instant messaging for good or for evil?

What's so great about Skype and instant messaging chat programs such as Yahoo Messenger or Gmail's chat feature? Yes, they are fast and convenient and you can chat 24,7 and 365 days a year. As a business professional, these programs have made my life a lot easier.

However, as easy and wonderful as this technology makes our lives, it also carries risk. For companies who use Skype and instant messaging technology, you face security, compliance, inappropriate usage by employees and of course, the biggie - trade secret leaks. Then we have those friendly crackers (black hat hackers) who sneak into Yahoo Messenger and attack with "phishing" (pesky spam and bots that pop out from the cyber ether). Even though "insta-communication" online makes our lives more convenient, be aware of the security risks - make sure your firewalls and virus softwares are up-to-date.

I'm not giving up my instant messaging programs or Skype anytime soon but it makes me think more carefully about what I share and whom I share it with in IM-Land or via Skype call. Now if only Skype could deliver a latte to me in the morning - maybe Starbucks and Skype should team up- hmmmm, that's a thought.

How has Skype and/or instant messaging made your life/business easier, or maybe it hasn't? Happy Skyping & IM'ing!  

1 comment:

  1. Therese, I'm absolutely inept when it comes to Skype and apps and plug-ins! Thanks for stopping by my blog...I'm glad you did because now I know where to come to help me get over my "technical phobias"... :)


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