In today’s age of at-your-fingertip-technology, video chatting is rapidly gaining in popularity. Whether you are conducting a business meeting with colleagues 3,000 miles away, staying in touch with family and friends in another state, or exploring new social networking opportunities, the ability to chat via video on the web is an easy and effective communication tool. To get started, all you need is a computer, an Internet connection, a webcam and video chatting software.
Step 1: Update your browser
Make sure you have the latest version of your Internet browser installed. With an older version, the quality of the video and audio will be compromised. Visit the home page for your browser of choice to find the download. To get you started, here are three popular browser download links: Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.
Step 2: Buy a webcam
Many newer computers have built-in webcams (if yours does, skip to Step 4). If yours doesn’t, they are available online or at any store that carries electronics. Make sure the one you choose works well with voice and video chat and is compatible with your computer.
Step 3: Install the webcam
This often requires downloading specific software to support your particular webcam. If your purchase didn’t come with a CD to download, installation may be as simple as connecting the webcam to your computer. Follow the directions provided.
Step 4: Install the plug-in
Install a video chat plug-in and create an account. You can find a plug-in from a variety of sources including Skype, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Google, SightSpeed or ooVoo, to name a few. Keep in mind, video chatting through many of these providers is free IF both parties use the same software. It’s worth the extra effort to make sure you and your video chat network are all using the same program. Otherwise, research fees and services provided to find the one best for you.
Step 5: Sign in to the chat program
When you sign-in, you will be able to initiate a video chat with available contacts. Click on the person with whom you’d like to chat. You should see them pop up on your monitor, and you should pop up on theirs. If a contact does not have the same plug-in, you can often invite them to download the application with just a click. Look for this option on the video chat page.
Now you’re ready to show your smiling face to friends, family and colleagues all over the world.