Once upon a time, Skype was synonymous with the future. The service enabled people to connect, via the Internet and their webcams, to video chat with friends, relatives, and loved ones. It was a futuristic way of communicating that looked as though it was born from an episode of The Jetsons. But these days, Skype’s ads are singing a much more nostalgic tune.
Skype’s newest ad campaign wants you to remember the good ‘ol days. You remember, those long ago times (roughly five years back), when people talked on the telephone, and in Skype’s case, through their webcams?
Skype enabled people the world over to not only hear people at a discounted rate, but also to see them. Now the video chat service seems to be taking pre-emptive strikes against a world keen on texts, IMs, and email. But does this new ad campaign signal a growing sentiment from users who are tired of the new ways of communication? Do we really yearn for the old days when video chat was it?
The Skype anti-social networking ads are cheeky, and, admittedly, they ring a bit true in an age riddled with hard-to-decipher wall posts (after all, isn’t “tone” hard to convey in a comment?) and quick-to-the-draw Tweets. One ad proclaims, “Upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation.” Another: “When did LOL replace the sound of laughter?” The effect is, truthfully, a bit jarring.
The digitalization of our lives has been an incredible feat for connecting and networking. But are we losing something fundamentally human in our need for quick-paced interactions? Another Skype ad, “Your one-way ticket back to humanity.” (Yikes.)
Skype’s campaign draws on internal research, showing a steady drop in social media users who are interacting with loved ones via phone calls. Seizing the opportunity to increase the depth of communications in an age that has grown a bit too familiar with shallow quips, comments, and Tweets seemed like a no-brainer for Skype.
But it also shows an important trend emerging in the field of social media, the need for balance, when it comes to communicating. Sure, the landline telephone may be a thing of the past, but the desire to see a loved one, or hear their voice, is certainly not lost on our society — as committed to social media as we may be. Social networking serves as a kind of flotsam for communication, a way to keep in touch in between deeper levels of interaction, whether in person, via video chat, or yes, even through the wall-tacked telephone.
Skype may be onto something with their new campaign, but it resonates beyond the company’s earnings. As social networking continues to grow, it’s apparent that fostering deeper human interactions is important, and it seems new technologies should aim to aid us in maintaining these communications, not thwart us from them.
Yes, there’s a time and a place for a Tweet (right now, in fact!), but we could all probably make use of a good, old-fashioned 30-minute call to mom, too.