We have had instant messengers such as AOL, MSN, and Yahoo, and different networking systems such as MySpace and Facebook, but none of these allow a face-to-face interaction. We can make a phone call to talk to someone who is not near us, but what about seeing them? Skype allows you to make phone calls, video calls, and instant message—all together in one! If your computer has a webcam and microphone, you are set to go!
Today, we are going to download the free version of Skype (unless you already have a Skype username). When you get on the Skype website, click on the green button that says “Download Skype Now.” Once you have installed the program, you are ready to go! Let’s explore your Skype window together!
On your “homepage” window, you can add a video or write a message for your friends to see by clicking on the question mark or thought bubble on the upper left-hand corner of the page. You can personalize your Skype any way you would like! Underneath that, you can click on “New” to add a New Contact, Import Contacts, or start a New Group Conversation. The two tabs right below are “Contacts” and “Conversations.” The Contacts will list all of the friends you will add on your Skype, and Conversations will list the conversations you are having with these contacts. “Call phones” will allow you to call someone via your computer, “Directory” is a means to find people or business, and “Shop” allows you to buy Skype credit for unlimited calls to landline numbers.
Let’s go over the Toolbar on your Skype menu—located on the upper portion of the Skype box! First is the Tab called Skype. Under Skype, you can change your Online Status. This is how you will appear to other users will you are online. For example, if you are Invisible, you will not appear to other users. If you click on Away, other users will see that you are not by your computer or available to chat.
Next under the Skype tab is Profile. This allows you to change your picture, edit your profile, link your Skype to your Myspace Account, or any other changes you would like to make to your personal profile. The next thing is Privacy, which is an extremely important aspect. Under Privacy, you can select all the settings that you wish to apply to your personal profile. These can be updated or changed at any time.
If you click on Account under Skype, this takes you to a page that lets you view your personal information and allows you to purchase Skype credit. Under Account is an option specifically for buying Skype Credit. The last three features under the Skype tab are Change Password, Sign Out, and Close. The second main tab on the Skype menu bar is Contacts. Under Contacts, you can add a New Contact, Create New Group, Import Contacts, and Search for Skype Users. Once you have added Contacts to your Skype Account, you can take the next step and Sort your Contacts by name or online status, Hide Contacts who may be offline or busy, and Backup Contacts under the Advanced Options.
We are just getting started, so stay tune for the next tutorial on learning how to use Skype!