|Can chat be effective?
The following text, "Can chat be effective?", is based on an article published on 30 December 2001 in "electronic-business.at".|
majority of Internet users think that chatrooms are solely suitable for
entertainment. It is perfectly true that chatrooms are ideally suited
for flirting anonymously or for gabbing ("chatting") about any topic.
However, this leaves a lot of potential of chat technologies unused.
Maybe the term "chatting" is the reason why chat technologies are still seldomly used effectively in the business world.
foremost, a brief definition of the term "chat": A chat allows several,
geographically separated communication partners to talk to each other
in written form at the same time. It differs from direct communication
(meeting in a real location) in two ways:
It is assumed that the quality of direct, face-to-face communication
cannot be reached by other forms of communication. However, it is also
assumed that communication methods which do not require to meet
physically, will gain significance in a networked society. An obvious
argument is the steep costs of business trips. Direct transport costs
as well as time spent need to be considered.
- Information is delivered via the written word.
- Non-verbal elements (gestures etc.) cannot be perceived.
The chat will claim an important role next to various communication
methods such as e-mail, letter, fax, telephone, video conference, sms
etc. For specific communicative requirements, the chat will surely
substitute common forms of communication.
different possibilities for teams to communicate
|no digitally usable documentation in written form
|digitally usable documentation in written form|
||meetings via video or telephone conference
This is especially true for telephone (e.g. telephone conferences),
which also constitutes a synchronous (simultaneous) communication
The following points argue for using chats as an alternative:
If used appropriately in working processes, a chatroom can
- Ideally suited if more than two persons want to communicate with each other.
- Breaks (silence, absence) are not perceived as being awkward.
- Reduction of misunderstandings (numbers addresses are noted incorrectly).
- Even those who normally cannot assert themselves in meetings are heard.
- In a way, the discussion documents itself. Subsequently, statements can be referenced later on which is a huge advantage.
Several companies are already thinking about how to stop the
"email plague". Factiva (a Dow Jones Reuters Company), for instance, is
contemplating to introduce an email-free Friday. In another company,
email can only be sent before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m. These tendencies
will leverage alternative solutions such as chatrooms.
- turn into a meeting point for exchanging knowledge (brainstorming, meeting notes etc.) and
- become a valuable information and opinion archive which, if equipped with a search option, can be searched at any time.
© Mag. Max Harnoncourt, May 2001