Getting fired up on Skype Video with President Obama
Yesterday evening, while speaking at a national town hall meeting in Washington, D.C., President Obama had a face to face conversation with a woman who was attending a house party in Illinois. No, President Obama can’t time travel; he is not a wizard. Instead, he had the conversation with folks at the house party using Skype video over the Internet.
Video calling is no longer extraordinary. It is available for anyone with a computer and a broadband connection. In the first half of this year, about 40% of the 95 billion minutes that people spent on Skype were spent having video conversations.
The President claims that it is his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who understand Skype and other broadband technologies. But it is exciting that the President understands the ease and attraction of using Skype to communicate with interested constituents across the country. Skype video calling opens up new ways for the government to communicate with the people it represents and for voters of all stripes to voice their opinions to government officials.
Although this video conversation was billed by the Huffington Post as “the first ever question a US President has received from Skype,” we at Skype expect it will not be the last. Skype presents tremendous opportunities for policy makers to increase information sharing, transparency, and accountability. And everyone benefits from a government that understands the importance of staying connected through wonderful communications tools such as Skype.