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The Evolution of the Skype Community

As the head Community Manager for Skype, I am fortunate enough to be able to work with many of you every day that are part of our online community. For me, it is especially rewarding work because I love to hear how Skype helps connect you in truly unique ways. Just today, I read a post about how Skype allowed a grandmother thousands of miles away to attend her grandchild’s wedding remotely through a video call.

However, while the online Skype Community today is very active and vibrant, a lot has changed since its inception 10 months ago. Here is a look into how our online community has evolved over time, what changes we’ve noticed and what improvements we have in store for the future.

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OUR USER COMMUNITY

The Skype Community today is comprised of close to 1 million registered passionate Skype users from all corners of the globe. While English is the primary language of choice, there are local language boards in French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Here are some other fast facts about the community:

  • Over 3 million page views per month (more than double that of two years ago)
  • A new post is made on average every 80 seconds
  • 30,000 new members register to join the community each month

There are three main types of community users: first, there are people with technical questions looking for help; second, there are Skype customers looking to give feedback about using Skype features and suggest enhancements to our products; and third, there are users looking for language exchange. Perhaps the most interesting thing we’ve observed is that we see a lot of people switching between those groups – e.g., once they’ve received a reply on their technical support question, they’ll stay in the community to continue providing product feedback and exchanging their stories with others.

At the very heart of the community are three very passionate dedicated Skype team members: Edmund Read, our Head of Contact and Media; Stephen Crosby, our Twitter Community Specialist; and myself acting as Community Manager. While we’re a small group, we are continually supported by people from across the company, from the product teams to customer service.

FROM TECH SUPPORT TO COMMUNITY

The Skype Community was originally conceived as a place solely to address technical problems and to provide customer service support. However, over the past months, it has really begun to transform from a technical-focused support forum to a highly engaged user community.

A reoccurring theme we hear from many people is that our online community provides a great opportunity to join conversations and share stories with people around the world. Much of this conversation is driven by our Skype super users – members of our community who are the most active participants and proactively help new Skype users by answering their questions. We didn’t initially expect this, but with the help from our super users the community has become the best and fastest growing place to discuss anything related to Skype.

As a result of this, we’ve expanded to reach more people on Skype thanks to our added offerings beyond the walls of our community on Skype.com. On Skype’s Facebook page, you can ask your questions on the “Support” tab. These questions end up in the community and receive replies from other users there. Our @SkypeSupport Twitter handle helps us solve issues quickly in 140 characters or less. Finally, the newly launched Skype Support Network YouTube channel highlights the best instructional content in video.

ON THE HORIZON

While the community continues to grow, we’re always listening to you and making improvements based on your feedback. Currently, we are working on deeper integrations with our social media channels, enhancing our existing offerings on Skype’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Additionally, we plan to continue hosting more community #SkypeTalks live chat events (Q&A sessions with the community and members of our product teams), as they’ve proven to be a great opportunity to listen closely to you. We would like to build off of these successful chats, offering more opportunities for you to engage with experts across Skype in order to further improve our products.

Likely the biggest improvement we’ll be making will be providing even more ways for you to access the Skype community.

I don’t want to miss this opportunity to thank the thousands of people who make the Skype community flourish, especially our super users, who dedicate so much of their own time sharing their extensive knowledge about Skype to help other Skype users every day.

Please check back here in the next few weeks for a new blog post series where I’ll be shining a well-deserved spotlight on several of our super users. And if you haven’t done so yet, we welcome you to join our thriving online community.

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