Skype and Video Calls with Friends and Clients
YEARS AGO when I first heard that one day we'd be able to see one
another when we talked on the telephone, my first thought was, "I'm not sure
I want to be seen on the phone." Well, my sisters gifted me with a webcam
for Christmas 2012 so we could begin to do video calls ...
and this is just one more bit of new technology for me that I love.
So many people I care about are separated from me by great distances, but
those who have a computer with a webcam and Skype can now communicate with
me face-to-face no matter where they are. I'm having trouble getting some
of my older friends to embrace this technology, however. As one of them told me,
"I don't want to be seen by anyone most days. I've even stipulated that I
want a closed casket."
Today's laptops all come with a built-in webcam, but desktop computers without them
are no problem. Adding an external Logitech webcam is very inexpensive easy to
install, so as we all grow older and lose our ability or desire to travel long
distances to see friends or relatives, I see this as a wonderful way to
communicate face-to-face. Of course a webcam is also a wonderful business tool.
* * *
I’m available professionally to writers and authors
and home-business owners who wish to consult with me via Skype/Webcam.
See this page for more information
* * *
NOTE THAT I TALK VIA SKYPE only when I can't connect with a friend or client using
my free long-distance service, and I do video calls only by appointment
because, like many others who work at home, there are times when I don't want anyone
except my sisters to see me in the ratty old clothes I love to work in, or when
my hair's a mess and I don't look my best.
I'm now enjoying weekly chats with my sisters and a couple of friends in Canada, one of
whom I grew up with in Buckley, Illinois and haven't seen in decades.
for personal chats is always limited, but if you consider yourself a personal
friend of mine and have a webcam and Skype, let me know because I'd love to meet
you face-to-face some day when we both have time for some personal conversation.
Copyright © 2015 by Barbara Brabec. All rights reserved.
Living in the Age of
by Barbara Brabec
A reminder of
all the personal and business friends you have now that you never would have had if you hadn't begun
to correspond by email, opened a website, started a blog, or got active on one
or more social networking sites.
The Internet: A Dramatic Life Changer
IN LOOKING BACK to when I launched Barbara Brabec's World in 2000, I remember
that I didn't have a clue about where this kind of Internet presence would lead
me, nor could I imagine all the doors of opportunity the World Wide Web would
eventually open for me. In fact, I knew little or nothing about the Internet,
and prior to opening my own site, I saw it as one of the greatest time-wasters
ever invented. Actually, given how much time some people do waste surfing
the Web (myself included) and forwarding emails loaded with copyrighted content
(which I never do out of respect to the author or artist), I wasn't exactly
In the beginning, I hoped I could enhance my professional image by having my
own website, and I certainly accomplished that goal. But what I never imagined
back in 2000 was how being active on the Web would enrich my life by constantly
connecting me to new people, many of whom would become clients, helpful business
associates, and personal friends. Without being active on any social network,
I've met countless people from all walks of life all over the world, usually
after an individual's keyword search has brought them to one of my websites or a
particular article on them.
Naturally, many of my email meetings are short-lived and brief, but
quite often the people who contact me for either business or personal reasons
end up in my address book as friends, and I couldn't begin to tally all the
hours I've spent in communicating with all these people . . . but that
goes with the territory if one is interested in building lasting personal or
Prior to getting on the Web, I communicated with my
subscribers and friends the old fashioned way . . . by phone sometimes, but
mostly with typed letters sent by
mail. I wrote and received thousands upon thousands of letters between 1971 and
2000, keeping copies of most of my letters and many I received. Today I file
printed copies of my most interesting email exchanges and also save some electronically because this is HISTORY
to me, history that
I'm now recycling into my eBook writing.
Friends I'll Never Meet in Person
I AM UNLIKELY to ever meet in person most of the individuals I've met on the Web
and now communicate with by email or phone, but that doesn't matter. What
matters are the friendships themselves, and how they enrich my life for however
long they last.
Allow me to tell you about the kind of interesting people
I've met just because I'm on the Web. Because of my books and the research
I've done for them by letter, email, and phone through the years, I have made
lasting friendships with a number of individuals in both the home-business
and arts and crafts industries.
I've also had many an interesting conversation or email exchange with
individuals in other industries and professions, including scientists,
dieticians, corporate executives, pastors, attorneys, and even a judge. Because
I've recently changed directions as a writer, most of my email and phone calls
today are coming from writers, authors, and self-publishers.
It's hard for me to put into words the joy I've had in helping a first-time
author publish his or her first book and then continuing the friendship that
developed during that process.
One of the first authors I helped was Shawn
Smith, who is now like a son to me because of the help and support he gave me
after my husband died. Because he lived in my area when we first
met, this was one electronic friendship that soon developed into a very close
personal one, with many visits and lots of good conversation and laughter
together until he married and moved a few hours away. Our in-person visits now
are few and far between, but we've worked together since 2005 to get
his books published.
Because of the series of articles I wrote after I was
widowed in 2005, I often hear from new widows who are grieving the loss
of a loved one and looking for any kind of hope and encouragement they can get.
Counseling them is part of my little
Christian ministry on the Web, and this "work" has
been emotionally helpful not only to those who are grieving, but to me as well.
This message from one of those widows illustrates my point. Jill wrote:
"About a year a half ago I wrote to you
regarding the depression I was going through after my husband's death, I
just couldn't function. Everything you had said was 'right on the mark,' and
you made me feel like I wasn't going crazy and I wasn't losing my mind.
Thank You, you will always be in my heart and my prayers."
Because of the memoir I wrote about my life with a drummer named Harry, I've met
some very interesting musicians. For example, a while back I was contacted by
Leticia Bal, a Latin percussionist and marimbist in Holland who had found a page
on my personal domain about my memoir and my experience as a professional
marimbist in the sixties. She then featured me on her website because I was
doing something unique in the fifties similar to what she does now, which is
perform in concert and provide easy listening music on a marimba.
It was so nice to be recognized by her for something I did so many years ago.
Links on this page will connect you to some of Leticia's unusual marimba music.
Because of the WordPress site I set up in 2010 as a companion to my memoir, The
Drummer Drives!, I
made several new electronic friendships with people who knew or worked with my late husband, from old
school chums to Chicago Symphony musicians who shared stories about him I'd
never heard before. I also wrote several articles about my communications with
some of these musicians, and others contributed articles to the site. (The
website is now closed, but some articles from it are now on this domain.)
Take George Edwards, for example, a drummer in Japan who once took a marimba
lesson from Harry in the sixties and then found me after I'd published my
memoir. After George and I had a few entertaining email exchanges, I took
delight in linking him to one of Harry's former students from his Walt Disney
days, and now these two drummers have forged a special friendship on the Web.
My electronic friendship with George has become more enjoyable since we began to
chat occasionally on Skype
November 2014 update: I decided to close this
nostalgic Chicago music history website in November, 2014 because I could no
longer justify the time to solicit or post new articles or maintain the site. I
republish selected articles from the site here on Barbara Brabec's World and
perhaps publish the rest of the content in a free eBook as time allows.
Because I now know so many people, I often encounter two people I know who need
to know one another, and it always gives me a kick when I'm able to connect
then. For example, take Adam Kolczynski, an independent publisher in the UK, and
Drage, an author in Australia. After both of them found me through different
avenues, I could see that they were a match made in heaven. It wasn't long
afterwards that I received autographed copies of Andrew's books published
through Adam's self-publishing division of
PolybiusBooks.com. "Thanks for your
advice and making this possible," Andrew had inscribed.
Ah ... the sweet connections that are now possible,
thanks to the Internet. Surfing the Web and communicating electronically
may take a lot of our time each day, but our lives have become infinitely richer
because of the many electronic friendships we’ve been able to forge as a result.
Living on the Web After We’re Gone
IN ADDITION TO MAKING NEW FRIENDSHIPS, one of the really nice things about having a
presence on the Web is that we may live there long after we're gone, provided
left the right information with our heirs as to how to access our websites,
blogs, and other "Internet property," and what to do with that
property in our absence.
Publishing an eBook on Amazon is now the
closest thing to immortality that I know of because only the author or his/her
heirs can remove an eBook from Amazon's product pages. To my regret, however,
Amazon won't let anyone remove an old outdated print book because there will
always be used book sellers claiming to have a copy. Thus every old edition of
my home business books will live on ... and on ... and on ... waiting for
anyone dumb enough to buy an outdated copy for a penny and $3.99 in postage.
Lately I've been reading my own writing, poring through years of letters,
email messages, and published
and unpublished writing in search of good material I can put in eBook form
as mini-books or article and story collections. It sounds egotistic to say it, but
I'm one of my favorite writers, having documented my entire life in writing from
age 18. Sometimes I read something I've written in a letter or journal note
years ago and it suddenly seems so profound that I'm amazed, or so funny in
retrospect that I find myself laughing aloud.
I remember the day when I was probably
around 65 years old and writing by hand in one of my journals one evening. Harry asked
me what I was doing and I said, "Just writing in my journal so I'll have
something interesting to read when I get old."
Without missing a beat, he raised his eyebrows, gave me an amused husbandly
look and said, "My dear, you're
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