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Mark Atwood
Chat rooms and conference calls
Today, Seth Godin talks in his blog about keeping a chat room running during a conference call.

When I worked for MySQL Professional Services, we started doing this, and it was very effective. We had a weekly conference call, and we would open a Skype multi user chat at the same time. In fact, often more interesting content and information was in the chat than was in the voice call. I think we only did the voice call because our manager liked it.

This technique works well for larger realspace meetings as well. At the IETF meetings, there is a Jabber room at jabber.ietf.org for every meeting, wg, and bof

And at other work meetings, I've opened up one on one and multiway IMs with other people sitting at the table, and it was often very productive.

This is an "innovation" that soon will become ubiquiously invisible, as we get more and more workers who were students sitting in lecture calls IMing back and forth to each other while listening to the professor.
4 comments or Leave a comment
From: hollyking Date: April 7th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I found that opening SubEthaEdit during OSCON was a huge gain. Everyone was making notes in the same document and then we all saved a copy. I found comments made by other people or snippets they would add to the talk very nice.
awfief From: awfief Date: April 7th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have found that the most productive use of IM/IRC is short bursts -- asking a question that would be disruptive if asked out loud, or posting a link in IRC. Many folks are more comfortable stating comments or asking questions in IRC than using voice.

But if there's an ongoing narrative, it tends to be *instead* of listening.
docorion From: docorion Date: April 7th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the best things about this is that chat happens in a mode where no one steps on anyone else. In speech, only one person can talk at a time (effectively 'simplex', although I know it's not technically simplex, but bear with me). During a meeting, as the speaking is going on, a lot of people will have points they want to make resulting from the content of the speech; waiting for the speech to finish means you may forget your point (often because it's been superseded by another one). Chatting during the conference allows those points to be made without interrupting the speaker.

I participated in a WebEx event recently. While there were some frustrations, the format allows for questions which come up to be entered during the presentation, likely ensuring that some questions get asked (avoiding the embarrassing 'any questions' followed by crickets which end so many presentations).

I approve of this innovation.

Edited at 2009-04-07 07:48 pm (UTC)
lishablog From: lishablog Date: April 8th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so used to having a chat window available when I'm talking to someone on Skype that I get frustrated when I'm talking to someone who is on a regular phone and I can't paste URL's and other non-voice information to them while we talk.
4 comments or Leave a comment