Like most online entrepreneurs, Skype is a staple of my business and one of my first logins everyday after having my 2nd cup of coffee. Today, I was relieved to learn that the problem is not related to Skype hackers or phishers … a rising trend on Skype.
After being unable to login through the client interface, I immediately went to the website to assure myself that my account had not been compromised somehow. I was able to login and verify my account there, although that capability has since gone down.
While I was logged in, a brief visit to the support page revealed that Skype was aware of the problems that people were having with logging in. I followed recommended steps to remedy the problem, which included shutting down my home network and resetting the routers. I guess that should be done periodically anyway so, even though it didn’t solve the Skype login problem, it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
This is probably quite an embarrassment for Skype in the advent of their upcoming IPO. For the rest of us, we can breathe a sigh of relief that our Skype accounts have not been hijacked by the hackers and phishers who prey on Skype users.
I’ve been online since the dial-up days, long before internetworking or email exchange was possible on computers with dissimilar operating systems. Working for a company with military contracts provided access to something called Arpanet which preceded the internet, as we know it today. When personal computers came on the scene in the late 1980s, we initially shared files using a technology called sneaker net. This involved copying files to a 5.25 inch floppy disk and delivering to the person who needed to access the file.
At that time, online tribes gathered in Usenet Groups where discussions could occur or news could be read with minimal lag time. As well, if someone had an axe to grind or was biased by some other affiliation, online and unofficially declared social etiquette was to indicate your position in the posted replies or at the end of one’s signature. Participants used telnet to visit these “chat rooms” and dial up speeds were a whopping 1200bps.
Bulletin boards were along the evolutionary chain of online tribe building. During their heyday period from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, these venues were maintained by hobbyists or corporate system administrators and the application software was hosted on dedicated computers. Operating costs sometimes translated to a fee based service. Because dial-up access often included expensive long distance calling rates, these sorts of tribes were geographically localized and members of the BBSes tended socialize in person on a somewhat regular basis.
Fast forward to now. These days, it is an anomaly for someone to not have high speed internet access. Bulletin boards have progressed to become forums and free internet messaging tools make it painlessly simple to gather into online tribes in a heartbeat. Skype Chat rooms are a great place to get connected and interact with like-minded people and I have learned a lot from my involvement with some of them.
Most Skype chat rooms have clear guidelines posted and all of them have hosts and co-hosts to monitor discussions and ensure that members adhere to the rules. Friendships can develop quickly when you can get a feeling about things that people think and care about in the rooms. Some friendships evolve on a more personal level which may even lead to conducting business together in profitable partnerships or JV endeavors.
Over time, I have observed that all Skype Chat Rooms are not created equally and that room owners, hosts, or members don’t always play nice. Unlike face-to-face friends, you do not have the benefit of body language, voice tone, or inflections behind the words. Even when you voice chat with someone, the anonymity factor of distance permits people to misrepresent themselves. If you are a guest in a Skype Chat, you will soon learn that room hosts can be arbitrary about who remains a member. Since it is their room, I guess this is their perfect right but, if you are the victim of a random ejection for no apparent reason, it can be disconcerting.
I approach all new memberships with caution and tend to leave or distance myself from Skype Chats where the room owners are only intent on pontification of their own professional worth, seem to bully members, or where the overall intention seems to be gossip, belligerence or unfocused conversations leading nowhere. We attract what we are thinking and, if we are embroiled in mean-spirited conversations, interacting with vulgar and opinionated people, or wasting our precious time on non-productive conversations, what will we attract?
This post is mainly written to recommend two of my long-time favorite chat rooms:
- GutzMedia Training 24/7 Chat
- Julie’s Skype Tips Chat
My evaluation is primarily based on these observations:
- Quality of content & member interaction
- Spirit of mutual support
- Lack of spammy affiliate links
- Membership exhibits common courtesies we learned in Kindergarten such as: play nice, don’t push each other on the playground and share your toys.
Skype is a remarkable online business meeting place and Skype chat rooms can facilitate great learning. The two rooms recommended in this post have never publicly disparaged anyone and I’ve found their membership to be very helpful. If you’re looking for interaction and friendship, I do suggest checking them out. These chat room owners are good people with superior online reputations whom I have come to know, respect and like. I believe that you will like them too.
Feel free to look me up on Skype if you have any questions. I can introduce you to these rooms too. My Skype ID is marj.wyatt.
I have an addendum to this post. Gutz 7/24 Skype chat has recently made a business decision to come off of Skype Public Chat and adjourn to their free Social Network hosted at Ning. Membership is free and getting involved with the Gutz Media Live community can only serve to improve your connections and business mindset.
As of October 19, 2009, the value obtained from participation in Julie’s Skype Tips chat room has become questionable. This room appears to be absorbed in conversations that will only help brand new Skype users, business owners in Message Magic, or people whose Skype Accounts have been hijacked. Thus, even though the information about the history of online chats remains of some value, there are NO Skype Chat Rooms that can be recommended.