We can now Skype with up to ten people for free. That means, from our computer, we can call, hold a conversation or meeting with up to nine other people, and see everyone. Okay, the last part may not be as great. We’ll have to comb our hair and perhaps put on some make-up — but we can still wear slippers.
Until now, Skype meant one-on-one video calling unless you paid for a premium subscription. In other words, I could Skype you and you could Skype me, but we couldn’t ask another friend to join us without paying. Now, we can.
This is great news for genealogy societies who have out-of-town members, members with mobility issues, and/or hold meetings in Canada or the northern US during the winter.
Here are five reasons why free Skype group video calls are good for societies.
- Special interest groups can now include members who live outside the city or country.
- Board meetings can take place anywhere, provided all the members have joined Skype… and learn how to use it.
- Snow storms will cause less havoc with meeting schedules if everyone can attend via Skype.
- Conference organizers no longer need to meet in person.
- Societies can set up a Genealogy 101 class for new members, no matter where they live.
Genealogy societies should think about building a Skype team of two or three volunteers who can help members walk through the process. In some cases, team members may volunteer to make house calls and visit members who need help setting up their computer and learning how to make a call and receive one.
If grandparents can Skype with their grandchildren, surely society members can learn how to Skype with other genealogists. All we may need is someone to show us how, and that someone may be in our family.
Read more on the Skype Big Blog.