I've always had family and friends spread pretty much all over the place, so I became good at long distance communication early on. When I was little, my mom's job would take her all around the country for days at a time, but it became such a normal part of our routine that I didn't even question it. She'd arrange easy dinners for while she was away, write letters for my sister and I to open every night she wasn't with us, and always bring a little treat back from her travels so we had a fun surprise to look forward to.
I'm blessed that my mom lives just over an hour away now, but it's still hard to connect more than once a month due to our busy schedules. And in the life of one-year-old Some Boy, a month is a long time! I often call my mom on the bluetooth speakerphone in the car so she can hear Some Boy's little babbles and chat with him about baby things, like his favorite stuffed animals or his latest adventure to the grocery store (admittedly, she does most of the talking).
My mom and stepdad run an online business together, so they often call me to consult on marketing ideas. It can get a little tricky with the long distance communication, my mom attempting to explain her hand-drawn ideas and my stepdad jumping in with his two cents from a totally different city (my mom still travels a lot for work, while my stepdad usually holds the fort down here in SoCal). I've been using Skype a lot lately to easily wrangle the whole group together for a quick chat and get everyone on the same page – whether my mom's in DC, Kauai, Seattle or New York! With video chat on my Skype premium account, I can connect with up to ten people at once. My favorite part about Skype is the ability to send instant messages while chatting, so I can shoot a link directly over and everyone can visit it to immediately see the concepts that I'm referencing.
I just wish I could get my grandma and grandpa on Skype. Grandma still seems to prefer a traditional handwritten letter now and then (often with recent photos included), whereas grandpa is really big on email. And my best friend Jen over in New York is in the hustle and bustle of the big city PR universe, so we rarely get a chance to connect at the same time over long distance communication (the three hour time difference doesn't make it any easier). We keep in touch via email, plus the occasional running dialogue over instant message – another one of my favorite features about Skype. I love the ability to send a message to people even when they're not around, plus the ability to set my own status to “Away,” “Do Not Disturb,” or “Invisible” (also known fondly among my circle as “Lurker Mode”).
Do you use Skype for keeping in touch with friends or colleagues? I'd love to hear some of your favorite long distance communication ideas!
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Skype via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Skype.