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Word of mouth–Skype hype

But it’s not hype. Skype really is transformative. I truly want everyone I work with (well, those I like–and that’s most almost all of them) to use this service, and only wish I could figure a way to get this kind of word of mouth promotion going for our encyclopedias. The VOIP is inconsistent and that’s annoying, but here’s how the basic chat feature works for me.

An exchange yesterday morning about 6am my time with a friend and colleague who was traveling in the U.S. I Skyped him because I thought he was at home on the West Coast and was going to chastise him for being up far too late. We chatted (note, this chat was done by typing, with the instant messaging system in Skype) about common business and our plans for the day and upcoming travel. I also tossed out a question about our publishing strategy, because I was working on my notes from the trip. It was fun, but productive, too.

This morning, at 4am, I realized I should ask Sam Flemming, media expert in Shanghai, for advice. I checked Skype and saw that he was online. We had a chat, and he’s going to introduce me to someone who should be able to get me started with some of our GIIS plans for 2008. Much faster than e-mail, and he could immediately ask me to clarify what I was after.

Here’s how to get on Skype with your friends and colleagues. First, sign up at Once you have an account, go to “Contacts,” then “Search for Skype users.” Put in Skype name (mine, for example, is karen_christensen) or the person’s name if you don’t know what s/he uses in Skype. You’ll get a list to select from. Right click for options and choose “Request contact details.” Write a few words and send. When your friend clicks Okay, you’ll be connected. The photos and notes we use as part of our profiles are fun, too.

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