The Great Skype Me Experiment

Hey look at this! Two blog entries in two days. I’m finally getting around to doing something slightly useful with my downtime at work. Anyway, you might be aware of Skype’s recent free SkypeOut for the rest of the year on calls to the US and Canada. Because of this I’ve started to keep Skype running on my work PC during the day. Like other IM systems, Skype has a setting in which you tell the world you would love to be contacted by strangers. Out of curiosity, I have enabled this setting. The results are a bit surprising.

So when you put your contact information in a public directory and invite total strangers to call and/or message you, interesting things can result. To my dismay, I haven’t been contacted by any interesting people. It’s rather sad. You would think that with the ability to talk to anyone anywhere in the world that interesting people would form conference rooms and have interesting discussions. Nope, that’s not the case. All the random people who have contacted me seem to fall into two categories.

Category one is obvious. Spammers. I haven’t actually talked to any of these spammers, but I’m 100% sure that’s what they are. There simply cannot be that many girls on Skype named angelica#####. It is painfully obvious that these are sex bots selling porn or some other service. I don’t know why eBay/Skype doesn’t clean this up. AIM seems to have done a decent job of cleaning up SPIM. Are we now entering an era of SPOIP?

The second category is pretty strange. They are all young international people looking for something like a pen pal. The problem is that, unlike a pen pal, they are very difficult to talk to. They speak English less understandably than they write it. They insist on speaking English, even if I might know a little bit of their language (I took Spanish in high school). All in all, they are just impossible to communicate with.

Where are the nerds, geeks and hipsters having awesome phone conferences discussing the awesome things of the day? Why has Skype not become the IRC of voice? Maybe we need some sort of public list of Skype channels which people can create, browse, join and leave. That would be pretty badass, especially if you had all the IRC features of banning, kicking, etc. to keep out the SPOIP.

All in all, it’s fun to keep Skype in “Skype Me” mode, just to see what shows up. At a minimum it makes work slightly more intersting. At a maximum, it might just cause a great conversatio at some point. Obviously, my Skype name is Apreche. Call me if you’re bored.

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3 Responses to The Great Skype Me Experiment

  1. I registered for Skype awhile ago(6 months ago maybe). But i only used it once. Never touched it since. but this whole thing about letting strangers message you sounds interesting…i think ill set it up today when i get home.

  2. Esteban J. De Anda says:

    How much personal information do you have available on your Skype profile? Sometimes when I’m looking to call people who are using SkypeMe mode their personal information helps me decide who would be interesting or cool to talk to. I’ll look at their geographic location and if it’s some place I’ve been I’ll give them a try. Knowing what language they speak is also important to me.

    If your language or geographic location are unspecified in your profile that may be the reason you only seem to attract spammers and lonely foreigners. I see a few people using SkypeMe whose only available information is their SkypeName. That usually triggers my weirdo/spammer alert.

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