Having recently bought a shiny new HD Webcam I thought I'd give the new Facebook video calling service a go. After several fruitless hours, however, I'm still unable to make any video calls, although I have learnt a lot along the way, not least to check for scams at every opportunity and that a hosted consumer service like Facebook doesn't necessarily make for a good business tool.
My first problem was finding out how to access the new option. Somewhat naively I assumed that Facebook would simply put up a message, link or icon of some kind that I could click when I logged on. No such luck, I had to go searching for help only to be deluged with "how to" articles and YouTube videos from well-meaning souls looking to share their video calling experiences.
Most were of little or no value and one even directed me to a scam site which downloaded phoney video software which, I quickly discovered, would then send spam surveys to all my Facebook friends. Fortunately I think I got rid of it before that happened!
I did eventually find the official Facebook video calling link, only to be told "Video calling will be available soon. Please check again later." No explanation was provided, so that meant yet more searching, only to find that it's being rolled out in stages and I'm way, way down the list.
Now, call me old fashioned if you will, but this doesn't seem like a good way to rollout a new service. For home users, maybe, but most would give up along the way. Moreover, as a business manager I would be appalled to find that, firstly, users were spending their time installing software on company PCs in this manner and, secondly, that they were getting their support from mostly ill-informed online forums and unofficial YouTube videos.
There has to be a better way.
This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management