I hate the IMs (instant messages), the paging, the PMs (personal messages), the private chats, the open chats, the IRC, AIM, ICQ, and MSN Messenger. I particularly despise the small talk that is an important part of chat, and I loathe all the phone SMS chatting and its entire infrastructure.
Dvorak has a rather clueless (but I’m sure valid in some situations) rant about chatting online. It’s not about the “hi. hi. how are you? fine.” conversations. It’s about communication.
Let’s take #mobitopia as an example. We’re a loose knit bunch of mobile tech enthusiasts sprinkled throughout the globe. During the day I can expect to chat with Jim. He routinely IRCs from his mobile phone during his morning and evening commute. I can check in with Matthew and Frank in Germany. I wonder if Martin in Scotland has managed to fix his Garmin Forerunner? When I’m starting to get hungry for lunch, Russ and other left-coasters start popping online. There are a few people that say “good morning” when I’m getting ready for bed. Erik doesn’t sleep much, so he’s always throwing my mental clock off.
On any given day we will communicate constructively. We trade links, ideas, opinions, thoughts. If Nokia is holding a press conference, chances are that Ewan, Rafe or Jim will have play by play coverage from a taco.
Of course we discuss other things (holy crap, did you see episode 18 of 24? What an ending!). We don’t talk tech 100% of the time. That would be too geeky! But the mobile shop talk and the sense of community that the channel and site have given us keep us coming back.