I confess that I’ve always been a bit sceptical about meetings conducted via Skype/G-Hangout. In the early days of teleconferencing, it was all about people interrupting each other, no body language, a feeling of wasted time.
However, I’ve recently been in several meetings with folks around the world (including Monash, Aalto, Uppsala, etc) and it’s been wonderful. Of course, I would like to go to these places, but until then, we will meet virtually, and that seems fine. Skype with video is now available to us with simple accounts. And Google drive makes it possible to work on a document in real time, while talking, and seeing what other people are editing. Very effective. And it was also nice to see signs of real world happening in the background, from pet dogs walking around, home scenes, and so on. The personal touch.
There are still some problems. I suppose one should get into the habit of writing a running minutes document, to keep track of everything which is decided. Writing on a piece of paper on a tablet seems to fit in very naturally when in a face-to-face meeting, but when sitting in front of a Skype screen it seems a bit more difficult. My main problem is that I still can’t stand WYSIWYG editors, and prefer writing in LaTeX and reading pdf, so that seems more difficult to do unless one goes batch-mode. There must be some way… Any hints?
Well, I am finally embracing the 21st century. (I went to a student presentation today where the student mentioned “millennials like us” – the generation gap never looked so wide…)