Ignore for the moment that certain kinds of multitasking are just plain dangerous. Ditto the oft-documented fact that in general multi-tasking is a bad idea. If you do video calling, there’s a new problem with multi-tasking that you might not have thought about.

It’s rude. And the person you’re speaking with on a video call can see what you’re doing.

I had a chance to experience this issue first-hand a few days ago—or rather, I didn’t; I’m happy to tell you that neither I  nor the client I was doing video with was rude. Throughout, we spoke with each other except when one of us said “hey look at this!” and the other went off to the Internet to do so.

But because a third party was “on hold” waiting to become part of the conversation I came face to face with a reality: I couldn’t communicate with him without also displaying my distraction to the person with whom I was already speaking.

I also couldn’t read e-mails if I got bored. Or text. Or do any of the other things that our overwhelmed lives have made all too common. And neither could “the other guy”.

This is a great thing. We had no choice but to actually stay engaged.

Anyone smell business change?

Video calling is still too hard, of course. You can’t do it unless everyone has good bandwidth, is using the same software and has “friended” each other, has cameras on their computers, has set things up just so, and . . . even then there can be compatibility issues. For example, while Skype is now allowing video conferencing so more than two people can participate, it doesn’t yet work between Macs and PCs.

But when you can do it, video calling has some real advantages. Of course, that means you need to look a little better and put on clothes if you happen to work at home and don’t consider that a necessity otherwise. 😉

And It feels kind of social, too.

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