Saturday, January 29, 2011

That Religious Guy: All the world in your webcam!

..... Whoever said that one couldn't see the world while staying at home was definitely living under a rock.
..... But of course, if he was living under a rock, he probably couldn't see the world, so we'll forgive him this time. That's the beauty of aboveground housing: Internet capabilities. As in many posts, I tend to digress and meander, making my way by some sheer luck to the whole point of why I'm writing... Skype!
..... Skype is not only a great way to distract friends from home work on a Saturday afternoon but is also a tool to get to know people from other countries. I've met a few individuals online on forums and Facebook groups myself. It's one thing to talk to someone online via IMs or e-mail but it's another thing to actually speak face-to-face. Of course, I don't recommend simply going online and meeting total strangers. Get smart before you Skype with someone!
..... There's basically two different ways to use Skype: the call function and the video call option. The former is basically a hands-free telephone; you'll be talking to the other person using you're webcam's mike. This is probably the safest and less expensive way to get to know people from other countries. No more racking up the phone bill with calls to France... In order to utilize the video call function, one needs a webcam however. This feature allows you to actually see the person you're conversing with and so it's like you're speaking to them in person. I do want to stress once again that people should be familiar with Internet etiquette and such before meeting random people online!
..... From speaking with "foreigners" (a word which I place in quotation marks since it's sounds negative) on Skype, I've learned a lot about how others perceive America and our values. Practically everybody I've met from the UK to Canada loves Barack Obama... One also gets to hear different accents and forms of slang (i.e. in Canada, people say "settle your kettle" to say "calm down"), which is something we language nerds love! All in all, Skype allows people to become well-rounded in terms of knowledge about the world. You also get to appreciate fun facts you pick up along the way like how the British refer to AP Calculus as Further Pure 1-2. Sounds so futuristic right?
..... Any technology like Facebook and Skype, however, has it's cost: safety. Be sure to get to know the person you want to talk to on Skype before actually calling them. Anyways, one can always have fun simply speaking to friends from school so people, Skype on!

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

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