I've had four Skype webcam conversations. Cousin Chris in Florence and I spoke for about an hour one morning (for her it was mid-afternoon). It seems easier to visit with someone when you can see them. Hearing is easier for me over Skype compared to either the cell phone or my land line. I get to use both ears at the same time instead of trading off and I don't get sweaty ear when the call is long. Some of the virtual connectivity issues still exist -- I tend to shut out those in my presence to participate in the virtual connection, but with a webcam, I can also draw them into the conversation.
It's wonderful that I was able to spend that time with Chris, see Eleonora walk and hear her babble, see parts of her home and all for free! The webcam is built into my laptop, a feature I neither sought nor avoided, Skype software downloads for free and there is no cost for the call. Amazing! I find fewer reasons each day to maintain a land line.
I spoke with friend Irene in California for over an hour one day and again found that it was much easier to talk and to hear. I feared I would feel self-conscious about my appearance when using the webcam -- was my hair fixed? what was I wearing? was the house tidy? But found that I didn't worry about those things. Felt more like getting together for coffee. I was able to include the boys in the conversation and to show off my new quilt. I like it. I would like to figure out how to make conference calls -- it would be so handy for planning events that call for coordination.
Downsides included some connectivity hassles at first with both Irene and Chris -- we had to try a few times before we actually got the full webcam thing going, but it was worth it in the long run. Calls do get dropped occassionally. Also calls must be prearranged -- Skype doesn't ring like a telephone, I have to be at my computer to hear the incoming call and to see the message that someone is trying to reach me. But, all in all, WOW!
If you want to call, send me an email and let's get together!