Skype is a fantastic tool, especially for those of us who remember the days of $100+ phone bills for calls to other countries. I like to keep Skype running while I’m working, so that if I want to ask a colleague a quick question, I can easily see if the person is online and send a chat message. Sometimes I use Skype’s calling feature when I want to type and talk at the same time (taking advantage of the headset rather than squeezing the cordless phone between my ear and shoulder) or when I don’t want to tie up my work phone line for a long period of time. Overall, I find Skype very useful.
My one issue with Skype (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, which would actually be fantastic!) is that unless you set up multiple profiles, you are confined to using one online status with all of your contacts. When you log on to Skype, you have to choose an online status; I’m not sure I understand the connotations behind all of these statuses, but the main ones I use are Online (when you want all of your contacts to see that you’re logged in), Do Not Disturb (when you are logged in but don’t want your current chat or call to be interrupted) and Invisible (when you are logged in but appear to your contacts as being logged out, which allows you to chat or call someone without your other contacts seeing that you’re online).
All of this makes me feel a bit like the middle-schoolers I used to teach French to, but here is my Skype wish: that without setting up two separate profiles (i.e. one for work and one for friends), I could set up groups of contacts and select the status that I want to display to each group. For example, during the work day it would be helpful to appear Online to my work contacts, but Invisible to my personal contacts, and vice versa in the evening, unless I happen to be working.
As far as I can tell, the only way to achieve this right now is to set up two different profiles, which when added to profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Ning, ATA, CTA, various translation portals etc. is more of a step toward multiple personality issues than I’m interested in taking. Am I missing something, or do other people have this wish about Skype too?