If Google+, with its easily-grouped friend lists and group video chat represents “shots fired” at Facebook’s social networking empire, then Facebook’s announcement of its own Skype-powered 1-to-1 video chat client surely means the war is on.
Great news for consumers, probably, but it’s easy to forget there’s a segment of people who have never mustered up the courage to video chat. In that spirit, here are some handy tips so that they’ll look like experts from the get-go.
Please, keep it clean
As we speak, the video chat option is being rolled out to Facebook.com’s users slowly but surely, the mobile app will eventually enjoy the spoils of video chat, too. But just because you happen to browse Facebook on your iPhone in more…let’s say…private settings, doesn’t mean anyone needs video evidence of that. Remember that story about Apple working on patents to prevent video recording in concert venues? I’d like to propose one preventing video chatting in bathroom venues right now.
Remember, lying is harder on video
Oh, you’re not feeling well? Can’t make it out to the bars tonight because you can’t shake this cold and need to sleep it off? Don’t let video chat blow your cover. If you’re convinced you’re the King of Lies and can still pull it off, at least throw a little makeup on to create some bags under your eyes or a huge gash in your forehead. Nobody wants to hit the bars alongside a guy with a massive head wound.
Video chatting means never having to prove you’re wearing pants
Remember, the camera sees only what you want it to. Keep the eye pointed high and you may not actually have legs anymore for all anyone knows. Business casual takes on a whole new meaning when you’re video chatting from the comfort of your home. Of course, this also being a mobile website, I should point out that the rules change once you’ve left the house. If you’re using your Facebook app to video chat on-the-go, I hope you’re wearing something on those pale legs of yours.
This is a rule I happen to break a lot. I’m a laughing menace in person but there’s something about staring at a computer screen talking to a person that’s not really there that makes me forget to show human emotion. I guess I just want to make sure my cold, sterile laptop doesn’t feel left out. In any case, it helps to smile so the person you’re chatting with on the other end doesn’t think you’re hate chatting with them. You may be, but don’t let them know!
Turn down that racket
This tip may seem a bit more obvious, but your private tunes become a lot less private on a video chat. You spend your whole life projecting out a super macho self-image and one Facebook video chat later, your friends find out you blast Katy Perry when you’re browsing the web. Not that there’s anything wrong with a little KP at the end of your day (it could be worse, it could be Ke$ha), you should at least remember that your friends can hear your music as well as you can with a video chat.