Kentucky Local News, Weather, Sports | Lexington, KY | WKYT

Skype Changes The Way People Communicate

Every minute, millions of people are online: on Facebook, using Twitter and blogs to stay in touch with friends and clients around the world.

Some Kentuckians are staying connected, face-to-face, over the internet that's changing how people see and talk to each other.

He's not in kindergarten yet, but Matthew Bird is already "skypeing."

Matthew and his mom, Jennifer, live in Lexington. His grandparents live in Olive Hill. A couple of months ago, both families joined Skype, an internet program that enables them to make video calls for free.

Jennifer calls her mom to give her a heads up they're about to go on Skype, and her mother gets her laptop ready.

"It's so simple and so easy to use. Anyone can use it. You just click and make your user name, and there you are," she said.

Using a laptop with a tiny video camera, Matthew's grandmother can read him bedtime stories and even get the lowdown on his upcoming birthday.

Jennifer got the idea on Skype from Oprah.

Skype belongs to eBay. An estimated 340 million people are registered Skype users, and there's more to it than video calls.

Madison County Realtor, Lizette Fitzpatrick, also uses the service. In fact, she unplugged her land-line phone, and uses Skype as her home office phone.

She estimates she saves hundreds of dollars a year in phone bills. Calling with Skype costs her 30 dollars a year. The person she's calling doesn't need to be on Skype to take the call. Fitzpatrick can also send text and files thru Skype and do video conferencing.

"We use digital cameras so its really easy to send pictures back and forth, and she can use some that I've taken, and I can use some she's taken, so it's real handy," Fitzpatrick says.

It's a new world. Some of us are catching up, and for some of us, like Matthew, Skype is already a part of every day life.

"To Matthew this is just all normal. At night, he'll say 'I want to Skype grandma,' and so he's ready to get on the computer, and visit and have our daily chat," Jennifer Bird said.

With Skype, the software is free and there are no activation fees.

Calls, video calls and chats between computers are free. Calls to landlines and mobile phones do have a cost. That service is called Skype Out.


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