Woohoo! Facebook now has video chat. A whole new way to connect with friends, family and complete strangers! And a whole new mine minefield of etiquette to consider. I spoke with Alan Hawrylyshen, part of the Skype team that created the Facebook video chat feature, to learn the do’s and don’ts to remember when using Facebook video chat
Do arrange the call in advance or ping the other person before you call. Do not assume just because someone is on Facebook it is an appropriate time for them to engage in video chat. They may have left their Facebook open and be in the middle of something else. They may be in their underwear, or having a bad hair day. Or may be at work where they can get away with posting a quick status or comment about pics from last Saturday night, but a video chat will blow their cover of faux productivity.
If your call is declined:
• DO NOT take it personally, (see above)
• DO NOT call back immediately.
• DO Save yourself embarrassment and resist posting rantings on their wall about what a jerk they are for not taking your call.
DO Look into camera. Let me repeat – look into camera when you speak, it equals looking at the other person. Alan suggests “moving the preview video window to be as close to your camera as possible; this will make it look more like you are looking
at the other party when (unavoidably) looking at yourself. Also
consider turinging it off and make a point to talk directly to the
Do Be Aware of your surroundings. For two reasons. First remember the person you are talking to is seeing not only you but also everything behind you. Second some backgrounds can make it very difficult for the person talking to you. Bright windows glare and your face is dark in front of them. A talking head tends to blend in with busy backgrounds like bookshelves and make it more work for the viewer to engage with you.
Do consider getting a HD Camera. When Alan were chatting on Facebook video chat he showed me the difference between the camera built into the computer and a HD camera. You will look waaay better with an HD camera.
DO Sit still. Moving around, rocking, spinning in your chair are even more distracting on video than in real life. Particularly if there are delays in the video. I’ve found myself almost feeling seasick trying to video chat with squirmers.
DO NOT sit too close to the camera. A great deal is communicated through our arms and body. When the viewer only sees your face they have to work much harder to get your message and may even miss it. When you sit too close it’s like talking to that person who stands too close – You don’t want to be that person. Not sure what’s appropriate? Look at news anchors and match that.
DO remember the other person can see you! Don’t forget and pick your nose. They can see that you are checking your other devices and playing with other things on your computer. Be polite. Be present with the person you are talking to. We’ve developed some pretty bad habits with multitasking during phone calls or IM.
DO be safe. I use Facebook to engage with new people. I met one of my business partners and got my current apartment through people I met on Facebook. We liked and commented on each other’s photos and statuses for a while. We IMed for a while and when it was relevant met in person. Video chat is the online equivalent of inviting someone into your living room. You may be revealing more than you mean to or realize. Decide now what your policy will be on chatting with people you don’t know.
If you are a parent it is time for another discussion of online safety with your children. Be sure to clearly define with whom they may and may not video chat. Practice what they should say and do when they are approached by people on the “No List”.
Do Share it and Have Fun! If you have friends who aren’t on yet start the video chat with them and link them in. I know many of my readers are speakers, consultants, and all kinds of ‘preneurs who use social media tools in innovative ways to build their businesses. Who is going to come up with the most creative, kick-a** way to use this new tool? Post your strategy here.
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Filed Under: Business Success