Virtual conversations made into reality

September 14, 2010 — by Olivia Chock and Brandon Judoprasetijo

During the summer, junior Eric Wang attended a camp where he met a lot of people in Taiwan. After making many new friends, he was worried he would never be able to talk to or see them ever again. Thanks to free video chat services such as Skype, Oovoo, and Tokbox, Wang is able to continue communicating with his new friends.

“Even though sometimes we don’t even say anything because they don’t know how to speak English very well, it’s nice to video chat with them over Skype and make silly faces at each other,” said Wang.

Through summer camps, social gatherings and other various activities, students often meet people who sometimes do not live in the same area. However, video chat programs have made it possible for users to communicate face-to-face. Video chatting is a useful tool not only to talk to friends that live far away, but also to keep in touch with relatives.

“I video chat with my grandparents in Taiwan every weekend,” said senior Joycelyn Tan. “It feels like they’re right there and there’s just a window between us.”

While some video chat to keep in touch with friends and family they do not usually see, others video chat with people they see every day at school.

“I think it’s more personal to video chat with my buds,” said sophomore Michelle Chan. “It’s definitely a lot more time consuming than talking on instant messaging so I only vchat when I have time.”

Although video chatting is often used for recreational purposes, students also make good use of the virtual internet socializing for school work.

“Sometimes, I find it more convenient to use Tokbox for homework discussions because then you can actually show your friend what exactly you need help with,” said Tan.

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