18 February 2009

Organise an online meeting for your book group

Organising an online meeting is real time gets easier by the minute.

Today's Meet is one in a crop of web 2.0 tools. It has been around since late October 2008.

Currently it is not particularly sophisticated. For instance there is no password protection. But I guess the sophistication will come.

It really is a mini blog, but because it runs in a browser there are no significant impediments for novice users. All they have to do is to give themselves a name and then they are in. Each comment seems to be limited to 140 characters.
At the moment it seems the longest you can have a room set up for is a year, and I presume all the text just stays there, and doesn't archive in any way. If you want to keep a record of the conversation, then you would need to copy the conversation and store somewhere else.

Chatmaker looks a bit more sophisticated, and it offers the option of a "secure chat", although that appears to have a purchase scenario. it certainly has a better text display than Today's Meet.

If you have an online group of readers who meet asynchronously through a Yahoo Group or similar, then it can be a real buzz for them to meet together synchronously. All you need to do is to set a date and a time, and set the room up beforehand so they know where to come.

URLs display as links too, which is useful to know.

Thanks to Michelle who sent me a link to Tiny Chat

TinyChat is a free service that allows you to create a free chat room that is accessible by anyone with a browser. Simply create a chatroom from the homepage then send the link it gives to you to anyone you want to chat with. After you leave the chat room, all the chat data is gone, so its perfect for secure chats.
Why would you use this? Its the easiest way to have a group chat with multiple people. No more worrying about who has what messenger, or what everyones screen name is. Just send them a link! Its also a great way to talk with people who are not the most computer literate- Now you dont need them to install any programs to talk with someone!

You don't get to name the chat room what you want, but you can embed the chat room as a widget in your blog (the code is provided), you can give yourself a nickname when you enter the chat room, and you can apparently save the chat log. Worth further investigating I think.

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