Sunday morning Skypecasting
I found a great new way of spending Sunday morning – I went on the new Skypecasts service we are beta testing with Skype 2.5. Skypecasts are online conference calls which can have up to 100 members. Anybody can set up, advertise and host their own Skypecast at the website. To keep things sensible, the host controls all the mikes and can mute people as needed. This morning, I decided to have a quick peek at the goings on . . .
]]>I rejected the language tutorials (a bit too much like work for the day that is in it) and moved swifly past various faith offerings. I opted for a DJ Skypecast – music was techno, nice sunday morning listening. All the mikes were muted so it was a bit of a one-way experience, and there were only a handful of people in the conference. But I spotted Stephan from work in there and found we could set up a side chat directly from the conference window.
I moved along to a UK Radio, News, Politics, English language – Skypecast – again, only a handful of people, but the conversation was interesting. The host is a kid in Camden that has an internal mixer providing additional control over call quality. He mentioned political news once or twice in a nod to the title of the Skypecast, but podcasting and electronics are his real interests.
One benefit of the small numbers is that the conference can become a happy little group really easily. Everyone spoke a bit – they asked me a lot of questions about Skype – some i could answer, some not. When your expertise is as obscure as managing technical documentation, you don’t always have a lot to share with the general public except personal opinions.
After a pleasant and interesting 30 minutes our host had to go and change his wiring to try to build in some background music. By then i had separate chats going with three of the group. Meantime, Stephan’s been talking to the DJ who is a 14 year old in Germany. He had to finish up his Skypecast to go do his homework. What a great way to meet people and, for us at Skype, to meet our users.
There have been a few gripes that there isn’t an API for Skypecasts yet but most people recognise the need to stablise and fine tune – and, most important, to learn what people will want to do with it. Which makes my sunday morning time well-spent, not just a lazy self-indulgent pleasure. Armed with usage information, the API to Skypecasts can be built to a more detailed specification.
In the interim, we can use Skypecasts as another communication tool – to focus on a specific topic in a forum for example, for question and answer sessions on new features, for learning sessions, interest groups. . . We have a new avenue of communication as well as an opportunity to put it through its paces before building the API.