Skype screen - two dogs talking to each other

Our communication methods have evolved dramatically over the past years beginning with snail mail and evolving to home phones, cell phones, smart phones, email, instant messenger, Facebook, Twitter and Skype (say that ten times fast). While the methods we use to stay in touch have changed, so too have the ways in which we communicate. For example, instead of an hour-long phone call, some prefer to send regular texts or Facebook messages to friends and family in order to stay in touch.

This may be a natural part of our evolution, but don’t tell Skype that. The company is in the midst of a major campaign called It’s Time for Skype, where they bash platforms like Facebook and Twitter as being impersonal. Skype instead calls people to communicate via their system – touting the tagline “welcome back to humanity”.

Most recently, they added a new app to their offerings as part of this campaign. Instead of the typical emoticons we’re all used to, Skype is introducing an app called “Humoticons”, that allow users to upload images of their various facial expressions for use in chat. In the corporate blog, Skype explains that users can post these images in the Humoticon gallery or share them on Facebook.

While this is a novel idea, Mashable reporter Sonia Paul notes that there’s immense irony in this and in the campaign as a whole. She states that “not only does Skype have a video call integration feature on Facebook, but the entire Humoticons campaign is housed on a Facebook page.” Additionally, it uses both Twitter and Facebook for promotional purposes, and even has a specific hashtag… #timeforskype.

The other irony I see in this is that, if we truly want to bring humanity back to our communications, why can’t we just talk in-person? How about logging off of Skype and heading to dinner with your mom, or a bike ride with a friend?

What do you think of Skype’s campaign? What about international communications? And what about its potential for consumer public relations?


This post was first published by Joanna DiTrapano on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.