Call me, but not on Skype!

We looked forward to the promise of video phone calls for fifty years, but now that they are here, no one wants to actually use them. The hassle of dressing up or cleaning the room for a phone call only explains part of it. Joel Stein captures the exact reason why video phone calls never caught on, despite the availability of Skype.
...Skype breaks the century-old social contract of the phone: we pay close attention while we're talking and zone out while you are.

As soon as you begin to talk, I feel trapped and desperately scan the room for tasks I can do to justify the enormous waste of time that is your talking. I wash dishes, I file receipts, I read news sites, I make little fake suicide faces to my wife Cassandra about how much I want to hang up that cause her to yell "Joel, I need you now" in a really unconvincing way that I've asked her not to do, but I still can't stop making the suicide faces. In desperate times, when I am on my cell phone in the middle of nowhere, I will pace. The only other time I pace is when I stub a toe or burn myself. But when I start talking, I assume that you are sitting perfectly still, rapt.

Link -via Digg

(image credit: John Ueland/TIME)

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I did not realize that others hated the phone as much as I do. Your description is uncanny. It's only for certain people though, I've trained most people not to call me.
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I think Skype would be fun for planned calls, but lousy for unplanned calls. I don't want to be seen when I'm not looking up to par (or have to see others when they aren't).

If I had a friend or family member that lived far away that I was unable to see in person very regularly, I could see arranging to have a Skype chat would be nicer than just a phone call.

And I could see it being helpful for me when I wanted to have an important talk with someone I couldn't be with in person. Sometimes I have a hard time really understanding people over the phone with no non-verbal cues to go with their words. "I'm fine" could mean "I'm fine" or "Actually, I'm terrible and want to talk about it but don't want to impose on you.". For most conversations, and conversations with people I see often, that's okay. But sometimes being able to look at the person I'm talking to might be a big help. Telling your sister who lives across the country you're expecting a baby would be extra cool if you could see the look on her face when she hears the news.

However, most calls just aren't that important or interesting. I don't need or care to see you or have you see me when you're just calling to say you're going to be home late or want me to bring home a loaf of bread.
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I live in Los Angeles, and I made a friend in Second Life (over the voice chat) who lives in the Netherlands.
I'd never used Skype before, but the first time I called him he took his laptop and, thanks to the wonders of WiFi, gave me a full tour of the little shop that he owns, including the street out front and the displays out in the back yard. Then he did the same when he Skyped from home later. That sold me, and we've been Skyping ever since.
Of course, he's the ONLY person I've been able to Skype with!
Everybody else just ignores me when I suggest it.
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I thought I was the only one who felt that web cams made things freaking awkward!

Talking on the phone, chatting online, and talking to people in person is 10x more comfortable than video calls! And I don't think it has anything to do with someone zoning out and wanting to do something else.
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