Founded in 2003, by an Estonian based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free. Purchased by Microsoft last year for a staggering $8.5million, (The VoIP provider was rumoured to be the target for Google and Facebook before the sale, with bids apparently being considered for less than half of the eventual sale price) Skype has been a phenomenal success in less than a decade.

In summary, some of the staggering statistics include;

  • Over 200 million active users.
  • Revenue approaching $1bn per year.
  • Record numbers signing in simultaneously, 36 million on March 12 2012.

Absolutely staggering growth is currently in evidence, so why does it continue to grow at such an astounding rate, well Skype Journal has some interesting thoughts;

  • Mexico and/or Brazil are using Skype more. Brazil, has 220 million mobile users (as of August 2011) and 16.5 million landline broadband users.
  • Skype’s software release rate is much more efficient. Skype sped up the rate at which new versions of Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac, and Skype on smartphone systems are distributed.
  • Most mobile users ran Skype only when necessary, avoiding long startup times and huge battery/CPU consumption. Skype’s updates to their iOS and Android applications improve on user experience, speed and battery life meaning users are more likely to keep Skype ‘going’ in the background.

So you know all there is to know about the growth and popularity of Skype, but you haven’t read anything relating to the article title, right? read on…

It fulfills many of the same functions of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. You can set a status or mood message, you can send ‘text’ messages or IM other users, you can share files such as photos and songs and even share your screen. For me personally, I feel much more relaxed anything that relates to the article title right? Well, it’s something we’ve been asked from time to time by our clients; Is Skype a social network? The answer is always the same, my point of view is it is a social network; but does it really matter?

Your updates and conversations are not published.d about sharing files and photos via Skype than Facebook or other such networks.

Skype makes it easy to keep things private, it’s part of what they do;

  • You do not ‘pay’ to avoid advertising.
  • Google or any other Search Engine does not ‘spider’ your content.
  • Quite often Skype is easier to use than Facebook or Twitter for those new to theinternet.
  • Personally, I would prefer to speak with family via Skype than a medium like Facebook.
  • Their Facebook app’ allows timeline updates via Skype.

So why should Skype not be considered a social network? Well, simply put, they don’t think they are a social network. Skype has launched an advertising campaign in the U.S. and U.K. that will certainly interest those in the industry, AdAge writes;

“The campaign, from Pereira & O’Dell in San Francisco, uses provocative lines to snipe at other technologies and social media. They include “When did it become OK to text Mum happy birthday?” and “140 characters doesn’t equal staying in touch.”

According to AdAge, the project is intended to raise awareness of Skype beyond the video calls for which it is best known, according to Ms. Strong. “A lot of people have great stories to tell about using Skype with friends and family, but they often see us as a one-dimensional product,” she said. “We’re proud of our video calls, but we also want them to know about our other products: screen-sharing, group video, file transfer, instant messaging, calls to mobile and landlines. The combination of features allows a more natural conversation.”

So what do you think? Does the ad’ campaign grab you? Is the recent growth surprising or just a natural result of a buyout from a software giant?

Well it’s not important to me (or your, probably) whether Skype is a social network or not – it provides a great service and the recent news about their ad’ campaign and growth only go to strengthen the potential for the company. I for one will continue to use Skype both personally and professionally?

As a social media manager, I use Skype every day. Add us to your Skype here.